Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and autistic symptoms in young children: another red herring?

Irene Petersen , Stephen Evans , Irwin Nazareth
  • Declaration of interest

    None.

Abstract

In this issue, El Marroun et al suggest an association between prenatal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) exposure and autistic traits in children, as well as an association with prenatal depressive symptoms. However, SSRIs may be mere markers of severity of underlying illnesses and it may be premature to reach such conclusions about effects of treatment. Studies like this raise concerns as this may fuel further anxiety and guilt among women who are faced with depression in pregnancy and possibly leave some women without treatment.

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