Swedish Study Cautiously Identifies Potential Link Between Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and Autism


When a medical condition explodes in prevalence as autism has in the United States in recent years, the situation tends to lead to several different efforts to explain what could be happening. Some of these attempts at an explanation seem valid on their face while others seem anything but. However, when actual clinical studies are done that tend to point to a certain direction, that development tends to lead to more study and more analysis of that potential link. Researchers in Sweden may have added another link to the chain that could exist between antidepressant medication and autism.

The New York Times recently ran a blog entry that discussed the results of the study, and the blog post went out of its way to make sure that its readers were aware that the researchers pointed out that their conclusions were not completely definitive. However, these results represent the second study in recent times that has come to a somewhat similar conclusion, and this current study looked at the use of antidepressant medications by women during the early stages of their pregnancies.

Specifically, the study looked at women in Sweden who had used any member of a class of medications known as SSRI’s, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or a member of a class of drugs known as nonselective monoamine reuptake inhibitors. The study found a higher risk for women taking these medications for their children being born and ultimately diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder than those women who did not use these medications during the early stages of their pregnancies.

These results tend to fall in line with those that were uncovered by researchers in California last year, and now that two studies have come to the same type of conclusion, it could lead to more work in the way of determining the risks of these medications when used by pregnant women. More work would be useful because autism is obviously a condition that is difficult to deal with, but stopping treatment for depression can also be extremely problematic for women who may already be facing some difficulties with being pregnant.

This is not an easy situation to face, and it’s exactly why women who are either pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant should make sure that they have a long and thorough discussion with their doctors regarding this choice. Generally, the right decision is out there somewhere and it usually involves taking specific steps to minimize the risks presented to both the child and to the mother. It is the duty of a doctor who hears about this situation to help the patient find a solution as quickly and as safely as possible.

Unfortunately, pregnant women do not always receive proper prenatal care, and that can lead to many problems for the child including an eventual diagnosis of autism. If this has happened to you or to someone you love, contact the New York medical malpractice lawyers at The Fitzgerald Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation.