Antidepressant use in first trimester not linked to ADHD or autism

Antidepressants are used by 12.7% of the U.S. population over 12. Since many women taking antidepressants are of childbearing age, pregnancy may prompt a discussion on whether to continue drug treatment for the duration. The risks and benefits continuing antidepressant drugs have been explored in many studies, but finding definitive links is complicated by the fact that pregnant women are excluded from randomized clinical trials.

A retrospective study has looked at the experience of women who took antidepressants during the first trimester to determine if medication use increased incidence of preterm birth, low birth weight, or a higher incidence of autism spectrum disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in offspring. The study measured the births and outcomes of children born to antidepressant users against the experience of their siblings, which helped control for genetic influences.

The study found a slight increase in preterm births associated with antidepressant use but no significant increase in low birth weight, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder, when considering the experience of siblings. Although preterm birth rates were higher, untreated major depression can also lead to preterm birth.

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11th December 2017
Drug Topics