Researchers gain more insight into antidepressant use during pregnancy
Compared with more than 3 million unexposed pregnancies, antidepressant-exposed pregnancies could not be directly correlated to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, learning or developmental speech/language disorders, developmental coordination disorder, intellectual disability, or behavioral disorders, according to new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Researchers of the study analyzed health care use data for millions of U.S. pregnancies between 2000 and 2015, including 145,702 characterized by maternal antidepressant exposure anywhere between 19 weeks of gestation and delivery. Offspring were followed for up to 14 years.
While some previous studies have linked a mother's consumption of antidepressants during pregnancy to neurodevelopment disorders (NDD) in the children, findings from the current investigation do not support the earlier results.
Crude results did suggest some associations, however, which the study authors suspect are due to uncontrolled confounding by parental mental health status, genetics, and environmental influences.
"The results of this cohort study suggest that antidepressant use in pregnancy itself does not increase the risk of [NDDs] in children," study authors wrote, noting that "antidepressant exposure during pregnancy could be an important marker for early screening and intervention in children, with the goal of improving outcomes for NDDs."