New evidence indicates that using common antidepressant medications during pregnancy may contribute to a higher risk -- albeit small -- of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children. Prior studies examining the relationship between prenatal use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and ASD risk have not bene conclusive. But a new study posits that under-reporting of maternal depression, if not properly considered in analyses, may have influenced results of studies.
However, due to the challenges of distinguishing effects of medications from those of the condition indicating their use, more research in larger study populations will be needed to confirm the findings. In addition, the decision whether or not to use an SSRI in pregnancy is a complex one; pregnant women and their doctors need to consider women's physical and mental health needs as well as other pregnancy-associated risks, including risks associated with untreated depression both during and after pregnancy.
However, the research team believes that the greater value of this finding is to direct further attention on understanding the mechanisms by which in utero SSRI exposure might influence the developing brain.
A new study from researchers at Drexel University adds evidence that using common antidepressant medications during pregnancy may contribute to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children, although this risk is still very small. Results from past studies of prenatal use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and ASD risk have not been consistent.