Study Finds Link Between Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy & Autism in Boys

SSRI Antidepressants and Autism

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Study Finds Link Between Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy & Autism in Boys

Yet another study has found a connection between SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy and autism, this time finding an elevated risk of autism among boys.

Concerns have been raised recently about the potential link between SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy and autism risks, and now new research shows that boys exposed to antidepressant drugs like Paxil or Zoloft in pregnancy may have a three-times increased risk of suffering from autism. The researchers also found that boys suffering from developmental delays were also more likely to have been exposed to an SSRI antidepressant drug in utero. If your child has showed signs of autism or delays in development, and you believe an SSRI antidepressant like Paxil or Zoloft to be the cause, contact a product liability lawyer today for legal help. You may be able to recover damages for your child’s injuries and medical bills by filing a product liability lawsuit against the drug manufacturing company.

Pregnancy Risks of Antidepressant Drugs

In the new study, published online by the medical journal Pediatrics on April 14, researchers suggest that the use of the popular SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder among boys in particular. SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft, Paxil and Lexapro are some of the most widely used medications in the United States, but mounting research linking potential pregnancy risks to the powerful drugs have raised serious concerns about the safety of these medications. This Pediatrics study is the latest in a series of efforts geared towards highlighting the dangers of using SSRI antidepressant drugs in pregnancy.

Boys at Higher Risk for Autism

To examine the risk of autism linked to antidepressant drugs, the researchers analyzed data on 966 mother-child pairs from the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE). The researchers interviewed the mothers, asking questions about their mental health history, prenatal SSRI use and sociodemographic information. Their findings indicate that SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy was lowest in typically developed (TD) children, but they found that boys appeared to be at a much higher risk for autism if their mothers took antidepressants while pregnant. “Among boys, prenatal SSRI exposure was nearly 3 times as likely in children with ASD relative to TD,” wrote the researchers, noting that “the strongest association occurred with first-trimester use.”

Research Tying SSRI Drugs to Autism in Children

This latest study comes on the heels of significant research outlining the pregnancy risks of antidepressant drugs. In a study published in the British Medical Journal in April 2013, researchers found a link between maternal depression, antidepressant use in pregnancy and an increased risk of autism in children. That study, which examined 4,429 cases of autism and more than 40,000 controls, indicated that women who took any antidepressant drug in pregnancy were approximately twice as likely to give birth to a child who would later test on the autism spectrum. In July 2011, researchers from Kaiser Permanente reported that children exposed to SSRI antidepressant drugs during pregnancy had double the risk of suffering from autism.

Contact an Experienced Birth Defect Lawyer Today

In addition to autism and developmental delays, a number of other serious adverse effects have been linked to antidepressant use in pregnancy, including birth defects like spina bifida, neural tube defects, heart malformations, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) and more. If you took an SSRI antidepressant like Paxil while pregnant, and your child has suffered from autism or a severe birth defect like spina bifida, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with an experienced birth defect lawyer today. With a qualified attorney on your side, you can protect your legal rights and pursue financial compensation for your child’s injuries and medical bills.

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