Autism Risk: Antidepressant Exposure in Pregnancy? Interview with:
Jakob Christensen
Department of Neurology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark;

Merete Juul Sørensen
Regional Centre of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Aarhus University Hospital
Risskov, Denmark What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We found that the risk of autism spectrum disorder was increased by 50% in children of mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy. However, when we controlled for other factors related to the medication, by comparing with children of mothers with a diagnosis of depression or with un-exposed siblings, the risk was smaller and not significantly increased. Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: Previous studies have found increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children of women who took antidepressant medication during pregnancy. We could not find that, when we took into account the disorder in the mother. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: Even though there may be risks associated with use of antidepressant medication during pregnancy, the specific risk of autism spectrum disorder may be partly or completely explained by factors other than the medication itself. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: Future research should aim to study possible risks in individaul antidepressant drugs in order to inform decision making in treating pregnant women with depression.


Antidepressant exposure in pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders

Merete Juul Sørensen,Therese Koops Grønborg,Jakob Christensen, Erik Thorlund Parner, Mogens Vestergaard,Diana Schendel, Lars Henning Pedersen

Published Date November 2013 Volume 2013:5(1) Pages 449 – 459


Last Updated on December 1, 2013 by Marie Benz MD FAAD