CNN’s American Morning’s (Christine Romans’) sound bite on a possible link between pregnant mothers taking antidepressants giving birth to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), set off some loud alarm bells in many homes throughout the country. This morning, CNN’s Romans synopsized a study the results of which signal the possibility that pregnant women taking antidepressants which are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa, may give birth to children with autism.
The lead author of this study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Lisa Croen, PhD, director of autism research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, noted “This is the first study of its kind to look at the association, and the findings have to be interpreted with a lot of caution.” She also noted that causality could not be definitely attributed using the results of a single study.
The study suggests that use of antidepressants during early pregnancy may pose a greater risk of ASD to the child. In this study of less than 300 children who have ASD, children exposed to the drugs during the first trimester were nearly four times more likely to develop an ASD, compared with unexposed children. http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/07/04/antidepressant.pregnancy.autism.risk/
The study’s researchers found that “any exposure to the drugs in the womb increased the risk of ASD diagnosis 2.2-fold, while first-trimester exposure increased the risk 3.8-fold.” Slightly more than 2 percent of all autism cases among children born in the late 1990s could be attributed to SSRI exposure, Croen and her colleagues estimate.” And, she says, this percentage could be higher today, “because SSRI use during pregnancy has become more common.” A study in 2005 study found that 6.5 percent of pregnant women were taking SSRIs.
While physicians aren’t quite ready to tell pregnant mothers to stop using antidepressants, the results of this study should be noted and definitely will spawn further research into the possible link between the use of antidepressants by pregnant women and ASD in their offspring.
Childsafetyblog.org will continue to keep its blog followers posted on the results of additional research in this possible link between antidepressants and ASD.