Study Shows Use of SSRI Antidepressants in Pregnancy May Increase Chances of Autism


JAMA Study Finds Children Exposed to Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac and Other SSRI Antidepressants During Pregnancy More Likely to Be Diagnosed With Autism Disorder

SSRI-Antidepressants-Lawsuit-Birth-Defect-Side-Effects3A recently published study is raising new concerns about the possible association between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants and autism, Wright & Schulte LLC reports. The research, which appeared last month in JAMA Pediatrics, suggested that children exposed to antidepressants like Paxil, Zoloft or Prozac were 87% more likely to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
[, JAMA Pediatrics, December 2015]

The study involved an analysis of Quebec health records from January 1999 and December 2009. During that time, 145,456 full-term singleton infants were born. Of those, 1,054 (0.72 percent) were subsequently diagnosed with autism. The authors of the study also identified 4,724 infants (3.2 percent) who were exposed to antidepressants in utero, with 4,200 exposed during the first trimester and 2,532 during the second and/or third trimester.

Of the 4,200 children exposed to SSRI antidepressants in the first trimester, 40 were diagnosed with autism. Thirty-one of the 2,532 exposed during the final two trimesters received a similar diagnosis. According to the research team, the findings suggest that there is no association between autism and antidepressant use during first trimester pregnancy. However, the risk jumps by 87% when the drugs are used in the second or third.

SSRI Antidepressants and Pregnancy: Roughly 6-10 percent of pregnant women take antidepressants as prescribed by their physicians. The incidence of autism has also increased, as diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder has grown from four in 10,000 children in 1966 to 100 in 10,000 children today.
Concerns have long surrounded the use of SSRI antidepressants in pregnancy. For example, in 2011, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned that the medications might be associated with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a serious and sometimes fatal condition that affects a baby’s lungs and heart. [, FDA, December 2011]

Last year, it was disclosed that executives at Pfizer, Inc. had been warned about a possible association between Zoloft and birth defects in 1998. That year, an internal company report even recommended changes be made to the medication’s safety label to warn of this potential risk.
[, Bloomberg News, June 2015]

A study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) earlier this year also indicated that the use of SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy, specifically Prozac and Paxil, increased the risk of certain birth defects, as well as brain and abdominal abnormalities.
[, July, 2015]

Wright & Schulte LLC represents children who may have been harmed as a result of pre-natal exposure to SSRI antidepressants. If you took Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac or another SSRI drug during your pregnancy, and your child was diagnosed with a birth defect or autism spectrum disorder, please visit, or call toll-FREE 1-800-399-0795 to learn more about your options for legal recourse.

About Wright & Schulte LLC: Wright & Schulte LLC, an experienced personal injury firm, is dedicated to the belief that America’s legal system should work for the people. Every day, the attorneys of Wright & Schulte LLC stand up for the rights of people who have been injured or wronged and fight tirelessly to ensure that even the world’s most powerful corporations take responsibility for their actions. If you’re looking for a law firm that will guarantee the aggressive and personal representation you deserve, please do not hesitate to contact Wright & Schulte LLC today. Free SSRI antidepressant lawsuit case evaluations are available through or by calling 1-800-399-0795.

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