Antidepressants, pregnancy, autism risk

Published On: Dec 18 2013 11:09:21 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 18 2013 05:00:00 PM EST

A new Dutch study finds no link between women who used a specific type of antidepressant before or during pregnancy, and autism spectrum disorder.

Researchers at the Staten Serum Institute in Copenhagen, looked at nearly 627,000 danish births.

"This study found that there wasn't a significant increased risk for mom's taking an antidepressant and having a child with autism, however previous studies have found an increased risk," explained Dr. Tom Frazier, who did not take part in the study but researches and treats autism at Cleveland Clinic Children's.

Danish researchers  were looking to see if there was an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder for women who were taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of anti-depressants.

They found that when compared to women who did not take them at all, taking this type of anti-depressant before or during pregnancy, did not result in a significantly increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in the baby. Researchers say despite the statistical power of the study more research is needed.

Frazier says if you're taking an anti-depressant and thinking about getting pregnant, or are already pregnant, you should talk to your doctor.

"They need to see their physician and they need to have a serious conversation about the risks and benefits because there are studies and there is a reason to suggest that antidepressants may increase the risk of developmental problems in kids. Not just autism, but other developmental problems, as well," explained Frazier.

Complete findings for this study are in the New England Journal of Medicine.


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