Previous studies have identified a link between taking antidepressants during pregnancy and the risk of autism for the unborn child. In a new study, researchers nuance this assertion and believe that other factors would be the cause.
For certain pathologies, the therapeutic stop is impossible, even during the pregnancy. Especially for the 3 to 8% of women taking antidepressants in Europe when they are pregnant. And if previous studies showed that taking these medicines could lead to risks ofautism In the unborn child, researchers at the University of Bristol (UK) conducted a new study to find out the consequences for the fetus.
Scientists are cautious in their conclusions, published in the BMJ According to the statistics, women treated with antidepressants had a slightly higher risk of having an autistic child than women who did not receive it. A difference that remains weak and shows that the drugs are not to be directly questioned because other factors could be at stake.
Results qualified by the researchers
To carry out this study, researchers tracked more than 250,000 young people between the ages of 4 and 17, of whom more than 5,000 had Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Of these, 3300 had been exposed to antidepressants in utero, and 4.1% had developed ASD. A figure that is not higher than among children who have not been exposed, but whose mothers had a psychiatric history (2.9%). A statistical difference of 1.2 points is not enough to conclude a risk in the eyes of researchers. "The fact that an association exists between the two phenomena does not prove that there is a causal linksays Dr. Michael Bloomfield, a research fellow in psychiatry at University College London, Science Media Center. There can be a multitude of other explanations. "