A recent meta-analysis suggests that in utero exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be associated with an increased risk for mental and/or behavioural disorders in the offspring, without evidence of a causal relationship.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 18 studies identified through a literature search on the PubMed, Embase and PsycINFO databases.
The findings showed a statistically significant association between in utero exposure to SSRIs and mental and/or behavioural disorders including autism spectrum disorder (HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.10-1.47), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (HR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.06-1.66) and mental retardation (HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.03-1.91). Of the 7 studies that showed a positive association between exposure to any SSRI during any trimester of pregnancy and the development of a mental disorder, 5 studies found confounding by indication.
However, the authors warn that the risk of residual confounding in the meta-analysis remains substantial owing to inconsistent adjustment for potential confounders across the included studies. The is no evidence supporting a causal relationship between exposure to SSRIs in utero and mental and/or behavioural disorders in offspring.