A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics in this month’s issue. revealed that pregnancies, antidepressants and autism are linked. The most vulnerable period for a pregnant woman is during the last two trimesters of pregnancy, during which the antidepressants should be prohibited.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is mainly characterized by problems when it comes to verbal and non-verbal communication, repetitive behavior, as well as social interactions. Autism affects the processing of information in the brain, by changing the way synapses and cells connect and organize. Although there is no knowledge of a cure for the disorder, in some cases, the children recovered. Since 2013, autism is believed to have affected around 21 million persons, and it is important to know that it occurs five times more in boys than in girls. Since 2014, about 1,5% ( 1 in 68) children were diagnosed with it, with an alarming increase of 30% ( 1 in 88), since 2012.
The selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the antidepressants most commonly prescribed for the major depressive disorder treatment and for anxiety disorders. These influence the natural chemicals in our brain.
The study used health records from January 1999 and December 2009, from Quebec, Canada. During this period, approximately 145,000 babies were born and around 1,000 were diagnosed with autism. They were first diagnosed with the disease when they were 4 years old on an average and 6 years old at the end of the study. More boys than girls were diagnosed with autism, with 4 boys to 1 girl.
Around 4,000 children were exposed to antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac or Paxil while in the utero, 4,200 in the first semester and 2,532 in the second or third semester of the pregnancy. In the first group, 40 babies were diagnosed with the disease, while in the second group, 31 had the disease.
Many women take antidepressants during their pregnancy because of the maternal depression. According to one of the authors, Anick Berard, during the first semester, taking antidepressants doesn’t pose any risks but by the second and third semester, the chances of autism increase with 87% if the women don’t stop taking the medicine.
Researcher say that the reason behind the disorder is that the serotonin found in the antidepressants affects the development of the brain. The study was conducted in order to bring awareness to the effects of the highly-used antidepressants, especially since pregnancies, antidepressants and autism are linked.
Image Source: www.pixabay.com