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Antidepressants in pregnancy are linked to ADHD but not to autism, says study

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 27 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5315
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Women who take antidepressants while pregnant may be raising the risk of their child developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but not autism, a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry has found.1

The US researchers, however, warned that any potential “modest” risk from taking antidepressants should be weighed against the possible consequences of not treating maternal depression or anxiety in each individual patient.

An apparently rapid increase in prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) over the past decade has increased efforts to identify potentially modifiable risks, although experts believe that much of the liability for autism is inherited and that environmental factors, not yet clearly identified, might add to the risk.

Previous studies2 3 4 have had contradictory findings about whether prenatal exposure to serotonergic drugs …

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