Loyola psychiatrist available to comment on study
Children whose mothers take certain antidepressants during pregnancy are twice as likely as other children to have a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. This is the first study to examine the relationship between antidepressants and autism risk. This class of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be especially risky early on in a pregnancy, the study suggests. Children who were exposed to the drugs during the first trimester were nearly four times as likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with unexposed children. However, a Loyola University Health System psychiatrist believes that given the small study size, the risk may be overstated and that these findings should not dissuade women from starting or continuing to take these antidepressants during pregnancy until further research is done. âAntidepressants have been used safely in many pregnant women suffering from depression for more than 30 years,â said Angelos Halaris, MD, PhD, medical director of psychiatry at Loyola University Health System. âThe prevalence of autism is nowhere near in proportion to the number of women who take these antidepressants while pregnant.â MEDIA: A Loyola University Health System physician is available to comment on this study. Interested media can call Nora Plunkett in Media Relations at (708) 417-5014.