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Study Links Autism Disorder and Pregnant Women Taking SSRI Antidepressants

Filed April 23rd, 2013 edlieber1

A new study from researchers in Sweden has become the latest to associate the use of certain antidepressant drugs during pregnancy with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder.

According to an abstract of the study appearing in the British Medical Journal, the study found that exposure to both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants (SSRIs) and drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants were linked with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders. These autism diagnoses were noted to be “without intellectual disability,” according to the study.

Study authors cautioned that the results of this research do not definitively link use of antidepressant drugs with autism disorders, nothing that “whether this association is causal or reflects the risk of autism with severe depression during pregnancy requires further research,” according to the abstract posted at It adds that “antidepressant use during pregnancy is unlikely to have contributed significantly towards the dramatic increase in observed prevalence of autism spectrum disorders.”

This is the latest study to examine a potential link between the use of SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants and the increased rate of autism disorders diagnosed since the early 1990s.

We have reported in the past on the other adverse effects associated with use of SSRI antidepressants like Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft. Use of these drugs during pregnancy has already been linked to birth defects such as Down’s syndrome, spina bifida, clubfoot, cleft lip and palate, and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of Newborn (PPHN).

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