More venerability towards Autism using Antidepressants during pregnancy

by Dr. Alan Kadish NMD

In the Journal of the American Medical Association  (JAMA) December 2015,  researchers looked for a link between the use of antidepressants and autism . What they found was in the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy, with the use of antidepressants in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class (SSRI), the frequency of autism was elevated.

If your depressed and pregnant don’t change your medications until you have a conversation with a physician familiar with options , both with and without prescriptions.  You can use a number of options, including the scientifically validated use of CBT therapy with natural therapies of perhaps change to a different class of antidepressants.

The option which probably has the most research to document its efficacy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Dozens of randomized controlled trials have contrasted CBT compared to SSRIs and the majority of the studies have shown that they are equivalent in treating depressive symptoms. There is good laboratory testing assessing your neurochemistry, from your urine. There are treatments with amino acids, natural products which make up our proteins, with a limited risk and low cost.

Want some options and a good evaluation ? Call us at the Center 541.773.3191


Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children
Takoua Boukhris, MSc; Odile Sheehy, MSc; Laurent Mottron, MD, PhD; Anick Bérard, PhD
JAMA Pediatr. Published online December 14, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3356 

Importance The association between the use of antidepressants during gestation and the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children is still controversial. The etiology of ASD remains unclear, although studies have implicated genetic predispositions, environmental risk factors, and maternal depression.

Objective To examine the risk of ASD in children associated with antidepressant use during pregnancy according to trimester of exposure and taking into account maternal depression.

Design, Setting, and Participants We conducted a register-based study of an ongoing population-based cohort, the Québec Pregnancy/Children Cohort, which includes data on all pregnancies and children in Québec from January 1, 1998, to December 31, 2009. A total of 145 456 singleton full-term infants born alive and whose mothers were covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec drug plan for at least 12 months before and during pregnancy were included. Data analysis was conducted from October 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015.

Exposures Antidepressant exposure during pregnancy was defined according to trimester and specific antidepressant classes.

Main Outcomes and Measures Children with ASD were defined as those with at least 1 diagnosis of ASD between date of birth and last date of follow-up. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate crude and adjusted hazard ratios with 95% CIs.

Results During 904 035.50 person-years of follow-up, 1054 children (0.7%) were diagnosed with ASD; boys with ASD outnumbered girls by a ratio of about 4:1. The mean (SD) age of children at the end of follow-up was 6.24 (3.19) years. Adjusting for potential confounders, use of antidepressants during the second and/or third trimester was associated with the risk of ASD (31 exposed infants; adjusted hazard ratio, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.15-3.04). Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors during the second and/or third trimester was significantly associated with an increased risk of ASD (22 exposed infants; adjusted hazard ratio, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.20-3.93). The risk was persistent even after taking into account maternal history of depression (29 exposed infants; adjusted hazard ratio, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.03-2.97).

Conclusions and Relevance Use of antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during the second and/or third trimester increases the risk of ASD in children, even after considering maternal depression. Further research is needed to specifically assess the risk of ASD associated with antidepressant types and dosages during pregnancy.


The following two tabs change content below.
Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.