Health News
Published: Dec 15, 2015
Antidepressants Linked To Autism; Study

A new study is shining the spotlight on a possible relationship between antidepressants taken while pregnant and the risk of autism.

In the new study published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, women who took antidepressants in the last 6mos of pregnancy were 87 percent more likely to have a child later diagnosed with autism.
However, doctors saw no increase in autism rates in women who took them in the first three months of pregnancy.

In the United States, nearly 2.2% of children ages 3 to 17 — about one in 45 — have autism, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2014 National Health Interview Survey.

The risk was also greater for women who took more than one kind of antidepressants during pregnancy.

The study found that the risk of autism was greatest if the mother took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, known better as SSRIs. Nearly 13 percent of American women take antidepressants during pregnancy.

"This is the group most used in the population in general and also during pregnancy. We're talking about Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, the most used antidepressants," one of the study authors, Anick Bérard, PhD, a professor at the University of Montreal's Faculty of Pharmacy and a researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center, who specializes in the field of pharmaceutical safety during pregnancy, told CBS News.

Experts caution that the overall risk is still low and women should not stop taking their medication without first talking to a doctor.

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