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New studies have discovered more autism risks. A recent study has shown that there may be a connection between antidepressants and autism.
In a study involving more than 1,800 children and their mothers, researchers found that women who were taking antidepressants when they were pregnant were more likely to give birth to children with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, according to Time.
Women who were taking antidepressants during their first trimester had four times the risk. Women who were taking antidepressants a year before giving birth had twice the risk, reports Time.
The study researched primarily one type of antidepressant: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These include popular antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft.
Though, the research does not necessarily mean that taking SSRI pills increases autism risk by itself. There are a variety of underlying factors which may in turn impact the development of autism. For example, it's unclear if its depression or the presence of SSRIs that increases the risk of autism, reports Time.
Children with autism commonly come from families who have some sort of mental illness or mental health problems, including depression, according to Time.
Autism has both genetic and environmental contributors. And, the researchers do not want patients or mothers who are taking antidepressants to stop taking the pills because of the study, reports Time.
In fact, a recent study has also shown that environmental factors may play a larger role in autism than previously thought. The study showed that genetics increased autism risk by 38%, while environmental factors increased autism risk up to 58%.
For now, women should not stop taking antidepressants. But, women who are pregnant and taking antidepressants or are thinking about becoming pregnant, discussing medication with their doctors is likely a prudent step.