A recent article in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry presents a study looking at prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and associated increased rates of depression diagnoses in early adolescence. The report stresses that these findings are preliminary and should not be construed to change clinical practice.
The study is the first to investigate the incidence of psychiatric diagnoses in offspring prenatally exposed to SSRIs as far out as adolescence, noting however the vital importance of treating maternal depression, which can have significant adverse effects on offspring. Untreated maternal depression has been shown to increase risks of several perinatal outcomes including preterm birth, delivery by C-section, and bleeding during delivery.
Researchers used Finnish national birth registry data to determine the cumulative incidence of depression, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in the offspring of four groups of mother-offspring dyads: mothers exposed to SSRIs during pregnancy, mothers exposed to psychiatric disorder but not to antidepressants, mothers who used SSRIs only before pregnancy), and children of mothers unexposed to either antidepressants or psychiatric disorders.