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Antidepressant Use Linked to Autism Risk

Publish Date : 12/15/2015

logoA new study published in JAMA Pediatrics links antidepressant use during pregnancy with increased rates of autism in children. More specifically, the study focused on expecting mothers who were taking selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro. This study used six years of data from the Canadian registry of newborn children to make its findings.

Of the 145,456 newborns studied 1,054 (a rate of .7%) were eventually diagnosed with autism. Of the 2,532 babies whose mothers used SSRIs during the second or third trimesters of pregnancy, 31 (1.2%) were found to be autistic. Among mothers who took SSRIs in the first trimester, 1% of their children were eventually diagnosed with autism. Researchers had previously suspected that there was a link between autism and depression in expecting mothers, but this study seems to point to the idea that maybe it was the use of SSRIs that made them suspicious.

Doctors have cautioned that pregnant women should not stop taking SSRIs simply because of this study. Although it appears that the drugs increase the risk of autism, the overall risk is still low. The dangers of having untreated depression, including alcohol and drug use, can be much more harmful to a developing child than antidepressants. Expecting mothers should ask their doctors about the risks associated with SSRIs and make the decision that is best for them and their families.

If you or a loved one took an antidepressant during pregnancy and subsequently had a child diagnosed with autism, you may be entitled to damages from the manufacturer of the drug. We can help. The experienced attorneys at McSweeney/Langevin focus their practice on helping families who have been harmed by dangerous drugs and defective medical devices. Their experience means that they can help your family get the aid that you deserve. Give us a call.


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