Expecting mothers who take antidepressant drugs during pregnancy may have an increased risk of giving birth to children who will later be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the findings of an important new study. In the study, published online this week by the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed the potential link between exposure to antidepressant drugs in pregnancy and autism, but indicated that they may have found a potential connection to ADHD instead. If you or a loved one has been adversely affected by an antidepressant drug, or another potentially dangerous medication, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a knowledgeable drug injury attorney today.
The study authors examined data from 1,377 children diagnosed with autism, and about 2,243 children diagnosed with ADHD in New England, comparing them to children born without either disorder. Upon looking at children diagnosed with ADHD, the researchers found a statistically significant link between the mother’s antidepressant use and a later ADHD diagnosis in the child. “These results suggest that the risk of autim observed with prenatal antidepressant exposure is likely confounded by severity of maternal illness, but further indicate that such exposure may still be associated with ADHD risk,” the researchers wrote. “This risk, modest in absolute terms, may still be a result of residual confounding and must be balanced against the substantial consequences of untreated maternal depression.”
Approximately 20% of women in the United States are prescribed an antidepressant drug during pregnancy, and this study is just the latest to examine the potential link between maternal antidepressant use and long-term side effects in children exposed to the drugs in pregnancy. A popular class of antidepressant drugs called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are believed to be especially dangerous when taken in pregnancy, and a recent study published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that pregnant women who take SSRIs while pregnant were three times as likely to give birth to a child with autism, compared to women who do not take the potentially dangerous medications. A number of life-altering birth defects have also been linked to SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy, including spina bifida, heart defects, neural tube defects and abdominal malformations.
There are a number of other serious side effects potentially associated with a woman’s use of SSRI antidepressants in pregnancy, including an increased risk of seizure problems, and a delay in infant developmental milestones, such as sitting, walking and talking. In recent years, a growing number of drug injury lawsuits have been brought against the makers of SSRI antidepressants like Paxil and Zoloft, alleging that use of the medications in pregnancy caused children to be born with serious birth defects. If your child was born with a congenital malformation like spina bifida or another neural tube birth defect, and you believe an SSRI antidepressant drug to be the cause, contact a knowledgeable product liability lawyer today to discuss your legal options.
[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Source: http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/mp201490a.html[/box]