Study finds that boys whose mothers took antidepressants while pregnant, three times more likely to have autism

Baltimore – Boys, whose mothers took antidepressants while pregnant have been found to be almost three times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder. The study looked a total of 966 mother-child pairs.

Data was collected from the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment Study. They found that 492 children had autism spectrum disorder, 154 children had developmental delays and 320 children had typical development.

The study to be published in the journal Pediatrics found prenatal exposure to the antidepressants was 3.4 percent in children that developed typically, but rose to 5.9 percent of children with autism spectrum disorder. The strongest association was in the first three months of pregnancy.

Researchers wrote in the study:

“In boys, prenatal exposure to selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, a class of compounds used as antidepressants to treatment of depression, anxiety and some personality disorders, might increase susceptibility to autism spectrum disorder or developmental delays,”

The original article by Alex Cukan on the UPI website can be read here