Antidepressants during pregnancy may up depression risk in kids

London, April 29 (IANS) Women taking antidepressants during pregnancy, please take note. Researchers have warned that exposure to these pills during gestation period is likely to increase depression in kids by early adolescence.

The findings showed that children exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during gestation had more chance of being diagnosed with depression after age 12, when compared to children who were exposed to maternal psychiatric illness but no antidepressants.

In addition, when children of mothers with neither antidepressant use nor psychiatric diagnosis were compared with SSRI-exposed kids, the researchers found that the rates were significantly elevated for each outcome.

The findings will be detailed in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).

For the study, the team examined psychiatric diagnoses, including depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in the kids of nearly 16,000 mothers who had used SSRIs during pregnancy between 1996 and 2010.

Children in this cohort ranged in age from zero to 15 years old.

“The results are in line with studies in rodents, suggesting that SSRI use during pregnancy increases the risk of offspring depression,” said lead study author Heli Malm from Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland.

“While some women with mild to moderate depression may do well coming off antidepressants during pregnancy, severe depression when left untreated can lead to serious consequences in the mother and can have direct and indirect adverse effects on the pregnancy, the foetus, and the child,” the researchers cautioned.

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