Is autism related to antidepressants in pregnancy?

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Autism Awareness Day was this week, raising awareness of how widespread autism has become. A story on the RxISK website raises the question of whether SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants could be linked to the rise in autism rates.

SSRI's have been used since 1987 and women of childbearing age make up a large portion of antidepressant users.

Autism is now estimated to affect 1 in 50 children, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.

“Available scientific data from animal and human studies raise serious concerns that exposure to SSRIs during pregnancy damages the developing brain and may cause neurodevelopmental abnormalities, including autism,” writes Adam Urato, the Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, as well as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Read the story.