Study links antidepressants in pregnancy with language disorders

Study links antidepressants in pregnancy with language disorders

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, known as SSRIs, are the most common type of antidepressants prescribed to pregnant women. Yet a new studyindicates that when taken during pregnancy, the drugs are associated with a higher risk of language disorders, including dyslexia, in offspring.

The children of women who took SSRIs while pregnant have a 37% greater risk of speech or language disorders compared with the children of depressed but unmedicated mothers, the researchers say.

In practical terms, if a depressed mother did not take antidepressants, her child’s risk of being diagnosed with a speech or language disorder would be about 1%, but if she took an SSRI, it would increase to 1.37%, explained Dr. Alan Brown, lead author of the study and a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center.

“When you have relative risks that are 1.37, they’re considered to be low. But because so many people are exposed — 6% to 10% of mothers are exposed (to antidepressants) throughout the world — it’s increasing the public health burden,” Brown said, explaining that this burden amounts to more expenses.

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