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expert reaction to study examining antidepressant use in pregnancy and risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in children

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine looks at antidepressant use during pregnancy and risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in children.


Prof Carmine Pariante, Professor of Biological Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, said:

“This is truly an important paper. Women and health professionals are often concerned about antidepressants in pregnancy, and sometimes decide to suddenly stop these medications as soon as pregnancy becomes known. What this study shows is that, in reality, previous concerns that antidepressant use increases the risk of autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders are due to the effects of depression itself, or to risk factors for depression, and not to antidepressants. Women with clinically significant depression (or other mental disorders where antidepressants are indicated) should be informed that the risk associated with antidepressants use in pregnancy is not as high as previously thought, and should be offered the possibility to discuss this therapeutic option as part of a package of care that should include also psychological and social support.”



‘Association of Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy With Risk of Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Children’ by Elizabeth A. Suarez et al. was published in JAMA Internal Medicine at 16:00 UK time on Monday 3 October.

DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.4268



Declared interests

Prof Carmine Pariante is supported by: a Senior Investigator award from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR); the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London; the Medical Research Council (grants MR/L014815/1, MR/J002739/1 and MR/N029488/1); the European Commission (EARLYCAUSE grant SC1-BHC-01-2019 and the Innovative Medicine Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking EUPEARL grant 853966); the NARSAD; the Psychiatry Research Trust; and the Wellcome Trust (SHAPER, Scaling-up Health-Arts Programme to scale up arts interventions, grant 219425/Z/19/Z). Less than 10% of his support in the last 10 years derives from commercial collaborations, including: a strategic award from the Wellcome Trust (Neuroimmunology of Mood Disorders and Alzheimer’s Disease (NIMA) Consortium, grant 104025), in partnership with Janssen, GlaxoSmithKline, Lundbeck and Pfizer; a research grant from Janssen; and consultation and speakers fees from Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Compass, Eleusis, GH Research, Lundbeck, and Värde Partners.

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