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Prenatal Exposure to SSRIs Linked to Autism and Developmental Disorders in Boys

A recent study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health identified a link between a mother’s use of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and developmental disorders and delays in boys. The study detailed in Science Daily included nearly 1,000 mother-child pairs and looked to identify the effects of prenatal SSRI treatment on newborns.

The researchers analyzed data from those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays compared with control subjects who did not have those diagnoses.

A total of 966 mother-child pairs were analyzed and were selected from the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study. The study contained a substantially larger proportion of boys than girls. In those with autism spectrum disorder, 82.5% were boys. The researchers state that although the study included girls, the larger effect in boys may suggest a possible gender-related effect of SSRI exposure.

The results show autism diagnoses were nearly 3 times as likely in boys when SSRI exposure was involved, especially when the exposure to the SSRI occurred during the first trimester of pregnancy. As far as diagnoses of developmental disorders, the highest effect was seen when exposure to SSRIs occurred in the third trimester.

SSRIs are commonly prescribed to treat depression and anxiety as well as other mental health conditions. Drug manufacturers have been named in multiple lawsuits which claim use of SSRIs can cause serious birth defects in unborn children.

It is important to speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your medication, especially during pregnancy. Lopez McHugh may be able to assist if your child has suffered from a serious birth defect after use of SSRI antidepressant medications. Contact a Lopez McHugh antidepressant birth defect lawyer today at (877) 737-8525.