Mom-to-Be's Antidepressants Tied to Kids' Psychiatric Woes

From Drugs.com - September 7, 2017

Mom-to-Be's Antidepressants Tied to Kids' Psychiatric Woes

THURSDAY, Sept. 7, 2017 -- Children whose mothers took antidepressants during pregnancy may be at increased risk for psychiatric disorders themselves, a new study suggests.

Researchers reviewed data from more than 905,000 children born in Denmark between 1998 and 2012. The children's health was followed for up to 16.5 years. During the follow-up period, 32,400 of the children were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.

The 15-year risk of psychiatric disorders was 8 percent among children whose mothers did not take antidepressants during pregnancy. The risk was 11.5 percent among those whose mothers took antidepressants before pregnancy. And the risk was up to 14.5 percent among those whose mothers took antidepressants before and during pregnancy or who began taking antidepressants during pregnancy.

But the researchers said their findings have to be interpreted with caution.

Due to the study's design, the researchers did not prove a cause-and-effect link.

This was an observational study, so the association identified may be due to other factors, such as the severity of the mother's illness combined with antidepressant exposure in the womb, the study authors said.

"Mothers with severe symptoms are more likely to continue treatment during pregnancy," said study author Xiaoqin Liu, from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues.

The researchers also emphasized that the decision to stop or continue taking antidepressants during pregnancy should be made jointly by patients and doctors. Untreated depression can also cause problems for mom and baby, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health.

Between 2 and 8 percent of pregnant women take antidepressants, the researchers said.

The study was published Sept. 6 in The BMJ.


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