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SSRI Use During Pregnancy Tied to Speech Issues in Offspring

No link found between SSRI use in pregnancy and risk of motor disorders, poor academic performance


WEDNESDAY, Oct. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Children whose mothers used a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) during pregnancy may be more likely to develop speech and language disorders, according to a study published online Oct. 12 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H., professor of epidemiology and psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues tracked data on 845,345 births in Finland between 1996 and 2010. The children were followed to age 3.

The researchers found that mothers who filled a prescription for an SSRI at least twice during their pregnancy were 37 percent more likely to have a child with a speech/language disorder than those who did not take the antidepressants. There was no link found between SSRI use in pregnancy and the risk of either motor disorders or academic performance in children.

"We found a significant increase in the risk of speech/language disorders among offspring of mothers who purchased SSRIs at least twice during pregnancy compared with mothers diagnosed as having depression or other psychiatric disorders not treated with antidepressants," the authors write. "Further studies are necessary to replicate these findings and to address the possibility of confounding by additional covariates before conclusions regarding the clinical implications of the results can be drawn."

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