Researchers led by Alexander Viktorin, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, analyzed data from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register and the Swedish National Patient Registry to estimate relative risks (RRs) for intellectual disability in children exposed during pregnancy to antidepressant medication. They also analyzed the risk associated specifically with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants, all other non-SSRI antidepressants, and other nonantidepressant psychotropic medications.
Intellectual disability was defined as having at least one inpatient or outpatient specialist care admission between birth and the end of follow-up at December 31, 2014, with an ICD-10 code of F70 to F79.
Of the 179,007 children in the study, an intellectual disability was diagnosed in 0.9% of those exposed to antidepressants and in 0.5% of those not exposed. The unadjusted RR of intellectual disability in the children exposed to maternal antidepressant medication use during pregnancy was estimated at 1.97. However, when the data were adjusted for parental age, the psychiatric illness for which the mother was treated, and other variables unrelated to the medication, the increased risk disappeared and the relative risk was statistically nonsignificant.
Moreover, the analyses of risks for children born to mothers treated during pregnancy specifically with SSRI antidepressants, non-SSRI antidepressants, or nonantidepressant psychotropic medications were comparable to the analyses of children exposed to any antidepressant during pregnancy.
For related information see the Psychiatric News article “SSRI Use During Pregnancy May Increase Risk of Language Delays in Offspring.”