Antipsychotics and Birth Defects
Written by Faith Anderson on April 10, 2012
Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic developed by AstraZeneca and approved by the FDA in 1997 for the treatment of schizophrenia. Risperdal is manufactured by Janssen, a division of drug firm Ortho-McNeil-Janssen, and is approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder, autism and schizophrenia. The researchers from Emory University in Atlanta observed six-month-old infants born to mothers who were treated with antipsychotics such as these, antidepressant drugs, or no drugs at all. The babies were given a standardized neuromotor test known as the Infant Neurological International Battery (INFANIB), which looks at the child’s posture, reflexes, motor skills and muscle tone.
The results of the study found that children exposed to antipsychotics in utero tended to score more poorly on the INFANIB than children exposed to antidepressants and children exposed to no drugs during pregnancy. Antipsychotics are a broad class of medication used to treat psychiatric problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but they are also commonly prescribed by doctors as off-label treatments. One-third of pregnant women with mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety are believed to take antipsychotics at some point during pregnancy. The drugs are known to have the ability to cross the placenta and affect unborn children.