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Anti-depressants in pregnancy linked to autism, Study
Anti-depressants in pregnancy linked to autism

Anti-depressants in pregnancy linked to autism, Study

A new Johns Hopkins study has established a link between prenatal exposure to antidepressant medications and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Also, it claimed to trigger developmental delays in boys because of the same.

It was found by researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health that the risk of ASD is increased by three times because of early prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs target depression, anxiety and other disorders.

Citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) and sertraline (Zoloft) are common SSRIs.

The researchers collated data from 966 pairs of mother and child to get a better view of how antidepressants affect the outcomes of pregnancy. 800 boys were part of the study. Almost 500 children were found to have autism spectrum disorder, 320 developed typically and 154 had some type of developmental delay. The antidepressants that were part of the research were Lezapro, Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft.

Researchers discovered that 5.9 percent of the autism group was exposed to antidepressants. 3.4 percent of the typically developing group was exposed to SSRIs. In the group of delayed developmental group, 5.2 percent were exposed to antidepressants.

The researchers claimed that boys were three times more likely to suffer from autism if they were exposed to SSRIs in the first trimester. The researchers hope that after the release of their results, more pregnant mothers consult their doctors first before using SSRIs. Treating depression during pregnancy takes a lot of factors to consider. The researchers said that they didn’t want their study to be used as a basis for decisions regarding clinical treatment. They recommend that women consult with their doctors about using antidepressants for their condition.


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