Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Exposure to certain medications in pregnancy may increase autism risk

When I originally saw this, I thought about it and decided not to put it in this blog, because I was afraid I might be responsible for someone dropping their medication, and ending up trying to commit suicide or kill her baby. I know from experience that people often cannot consider such findings intellectually, seeing them as stepping stones on the path to knowledge, and keeping an open mind to new information.

But this is such an important subject, I finally decided to include it, along with this statement, and using a less dramatic title than in the original.

Another possibility might be that factors that increase the mothers risk of depression might also increase the risk that her child will have ASD.


Public release date: 4-Jul-2011
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Contact: Danielle Cass
Kaiser Permanente
Exposure to anti-depressants in pregnancy may increase autism risk

OAKLAND, Calif., July 4, 2011 – Exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors anti-depressants in early pregnancy may modestly increase risk of autism spectrum disorders, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online in the current issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. However the researchers cautioned that the number of children exposed prenatally to SSRIs was low and that further studies are needed to validate these results

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the population-based, case-control study of 1,805 children is the first to systematically address the association between prenatal SSRI exposure and ASD risk.

Researchers reported a two-fold increased risk of ASD associated with maternal treatment with SSRI anti-depressants during the year before delivery. The strongest effect was associated with first trimester treatment, said the study's lead author, Lisa Croen, PhD, director of the Autism Research Program at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. She explained that in utero exposure to anti-depressant medications was reported in 6.7 percent of cases and 3.3 percent of controls.

"Our results suggest a possible, albeit small, risk to the unborn child associated with in utero exposure to SSRIs, but this possible risk must be balanced with risk to the mother of untreated mental health disorders," said Croen, who explained that further studies are needed to replicate and extend these findings.



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