Occasionally, a study finds that the correlation washes out then researchers take other variables into account.
Question Is antidepressant exposure during pregnancy associated with an increased risk of specific neurodevelopmental disorders in children?
Findings In this cohort study including 145 702 antidepressant-exposed pregnancies, antidepressant exposure during pregnancy was not associated with autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, specific learning disorders, developmental speech/language disorders, developmental coordination disorders, intellectual disabilities, or behavioral disorders after accounting for confounding through various design and analytic approaches. Results were generally consistent across antidepressant medication classes, commonly used individual drugs, and gestational exposure windows.
Meaning These findings suggest that antidepressant use in pregnancy does not increase the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in children.
In this study of 2 large cohorts of publicly and privately insured parent-child pairs, individuals using antidepressants during pregnancy had a higher risk of having a child with an NDD than individuals not using antidepressants. After adjustment for an extensive list of measured potential confounders, elevated crude HRs shifted substantially toward the null. Comparing with antidepressant discontinuers further shifted estimates to the null, and comparison with unexposed siblings resulted in null estimates for all outcomes. These results point to an increased risk of NDDs owing to factors associated with antidepressant use during pregnancy, but not the medication itself.