A study of more than 626,000 births did not uncover an association between use of selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) by pregnant women and development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their offspring. Using Danish national registry data of all live births from 1996 through 2005, Anders Hviid, Dr.Med.Sci, and colleagues linked information on maternal SSRI use before and during pregnancy, ASD in their offspring, and several potential confounding factors. They reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that 3,892 ASD cases were identified in the cohort of which 52 involved mothers who took SSRIs while pregnant. “As compared with no use of SSRIs both before and during pregnancy, use during pregnancy was not associated with a significantly increased risk of autism spectrum disorder.”
The researchers acknowledged that while they found no significant risk of ASD associated with SSRI use, their study could not rule out a relative risk and urged further study of the topic.
To read about research on antidepressant use during pregnancy that came to a different conclusion than the one in the Danish study, see the Psychiatric News article “Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy Linked to Autism Risk.” For more on this topic also see the article “Caution Urged Before Stopping Antidepressants in Pregnancy.”