Antidepressant Use During Early Pregnancy Does Not Increase Risk of Autism or ADHD

CADDAC National Director

A recent study has found that use of antidepressants by the mother during early pregnancy did not significantly increase the risk of poor fetal growth or the child’s risk of developing Autism or ADHD as previously thought. As well, only a slight increased risk for premature birth was found. This is the largest study to date, looking at over 1.5 million infants, using all live births in Sweden from 1996 to 2012. The information was matched to data on antidepressant use, mostly SSRIs, and autism and ADHD diagnoses. The study was led by Indiana University with analysis collaboration between the researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

This study’s results is of particular interest, not only for its size, but that researchers were able to compare outcomes in siblings when the mother was taking medication for depression and when she was not treated.  The study looked at the use of antidepressants in fathers as well as use in mothers prior to pregnancy and found increased rates of both Autism and ADHD leading researchers to believe that genetics and a history of depression were a factor rather than the use of antidepressants.

Read more about the study HERE

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