Recent research indicates that there is a correlation between autism and autism spectrum disorders and SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) such as Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, Effexor and Paxil when taken during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester.
Antidepressants and Autism
There is also evidence to indicate that the asthma medication Terbutaline (brand names Brethine and Bricanyl) given off-label to treat preterm or premature labor is associated with autism.
Health care professionals refer to autism as a group of disorders with similar features, known as Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). An autistic person may develop serious cognitive and behavioral problems while another may not display any symptoms.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
ASD category includes:
- Autistic disorder (also known as “classic” autism)
- Asperger syndrome
- Childhood disintegrative disorder (rare)
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or atypical autism)
For more information on signs and symptoms of Autism, see The Mayo Clinic.
According to the Archives of General Psychiatry (one of the JAMA/Archives journals, July 2011), autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are increasing, and at the same time, use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy have increased in recent decades, “prompting concerns that prenatal exposure may contribute to increased risk of ASD”.
Studies on Autism and Drugs During Pregnancy
The study, "Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders", involved a total of 298 children with ASD and 1507 randomly selected control children and was conducted at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Northern California. It was one of the first studies to thoroughly research the link between autism and the use of SSRI antidepressants.
The report concluded that, “Although the number of children exposed prenatally to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in this population was low, results suggest that exposure, especially during the first trimester, may modestly increase the risk of ASD. The potential risk associated with exposure must be balanced with the risk to the mother or fetus of untreated mental health disorders. Further studies are needed to replicate and extend these findings.”
The most common SSRI antidepressants are the following:
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
Duke University and Johns Hopkins University have conducted studies, some of which are ongoing, that suggest the asthma drug terbutaline, particularly taken within the 25-33 week timeframe of pregnancy may cause subtle brain damage that leads to autism.
If your child was born with autism that may have been caused by taking an SSRI antidepressant or terbutaline during pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation. Families dealing with autism are filing SSRI autism lawsuits that seek compensation for medical expenses, special education, suffering and other needs. Autism lawyers work on a contingency basis; call an autism attorney sooner than later.
Autism Drug Lawsuits
Autism Legal HelpIf you or a loved one has suffered damages in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Last updated on Apr-17-14