SSRI Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Associated with Increased Risk of Childhood Language Disorders, Study Suggests

Mothers who purchased antidepressants at least twice during pregnancy had a 37-percent increased risk of speech and/or language disorders among their offspring compared to mothers with depression and other psychiatric disorders who were not treated with antidepressants, according to new research. Results obtained by scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center will be published online on October 12, 2016 in JAMA Psychiatry. The article is titled “Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Use During Pregnancy and Offspring Disorders "To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the relationship between maternal antidepressant use and speech/language, scholastic, and motor disorders in offspring. The study benefited from large sample population and followed the children beyond age 3," said Alan Brown, M.D., M.P.H., Mailman School of Public Health Professor of Epidemiology and Columbia Professor of Psychiatry. The speech/language disorders included expressive and receptive language disorders and those involving articulation of sounds. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine, citalopram, paroxetine, sertraline, fluvoxamine, and escitalopram cross the placenta and enter the fetal circulation. They are also increasingly used during pregnancy. Based on a sample of 845,345 single, live births between 1996 and 2010 taken from national registries in Finland, the exposure groups were classified as mothers who purchased SSRIs once or more before or during pregnancy (15,596); those diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder one year before or during pregnancy but who did not purchase antidepressants (9,537); and mothers who neither purchased antidepressants nor were given depression-related diagnoses (31,207).
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