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David Baxter

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SSRI exposure in the womb not linked to depression
July 5th, 2006

Children who were exposed to psychotropic medications in utero do not appear to be at increased risk for internalizing behaviors such as depression, anxiety, and withdrawal, Canadian researchers report. Impaired maternal mood, by contrast, did increase the risk of internalizing behaviors.

The findings are based on an assessment of internalizing behaviors in 4-year-old children born to 22 mothers who used a type of anti-depressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy or 14 mothers who did not.

Parental/teacher reports and a clinical measure of maternal/child interaction were used to identify internalizing behaviors. In addition, all of the mothers completed mental health questionnaires.

The results appear in the American Journal of Psychiatry for June 2006.

Dr. Shaila Misri, from St. Paul?s and British Columbia Women?s Hospitals in Vancouver, and colleagues found no significant association between in utero SSRI exposure and the subsequent presence of internalizing behaviors.

By contrast, as current levels of maternal anxiety and depression rose, so did the children?s risk of internalizing behaviors, the report indicates.

?Further study of complex associations between maternal psychiatric disorders, prenatal SSRI exposure, and childhood internalizing behaviors is required to understand if the child outcomes is affected by the illness, medications, or a combination of both,? the authors conclude.

SOURCE: American Journal of Psychiatry June 2006.
 

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