Public Release: 

Prenatal exposures to medication affecting brain neurotransmitter systems and risk of ASD

JAMA Psychiatry

Bottom Line: An exploratory study that examined autism spectrum disorder (ASD) risk and prenatal exposure to medications that affect neurotransmitters, including the typical targets of antidepressants and antipsychotics, suggests that most medications weren't associated with higher estimates of ASD risk. The study used data from a large health maintenance organization in Israel for an analytic sample that included 34 groups of medications and 96,249 children, including 1,405 with ASD. Children exposed prenatally to the medications were compared with those not exposed. Most associations between ASD risk and prenatal exposure to the medications were modified when maternal diagnoses were considered. The authors acknowledge their findings needs to be replicated in other studies and that they may not be generalizable because rates of ASD in Israel are low.

Authors: Magdalena Janecka, Ph.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, and coauthors

Related Material: An author podcast and the editorial, "A Biology-First Approach in Perinatal Pharmacoepidemiology of Autism: Potential and Pitfalls," by Diana Schendel, Ph.D., Aarhus University, Denmark, and coauthors also are available on the For The Media website.


To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/ jamapsychiatry.2018.2728)

Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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