Issue 6, 2018

Maternal SSRIs experience and risk of ASD in offspring: a review


Antidepressants are extensively used during pregnancy and associated with severe outcomes, including innate malformations, prematurity, and low birth weight, etc. A recent study suggested that prenatal exposure to antidepressants may impair child neurodevelopment process. Thus, the aim of this review is to investigate the potential association between prenatal use of selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and the risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Twelve studies related to the linkage between SSRI exposure during pregnancy and ASD in children were explored and compiled. However, there is a knowledge gap concerning the potential link between gestational exposure to antidepressants and the risk of ASDs. Despite such limitations, the available data show that some signal exists and signifies that antenatal exposure to SSRIs may increase the risk of ASDs. Thus, there is a vital need for further, large and well-designed research to definitively evaluate the existence and the magnitude of this severe risk.

Graphical abstract: Maternal SSRIs experience and risk of ASD in offspring: a review

Article information

Article type
Review Article
05 Apr 2018
09 Jul 2018
First published
11 Jul 2018

Toxicol. Res., 2018,7, 1020-1028