November 15 2011
Research indicates the potential for a link between using an SSRI and autism
. Families with autistic children are seeking autism lawyers
to file an autism lawsuit
, claiming that prenatal exposure to certain antidepressant drugs—SSRIs such as Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, Effexor and Paxil—caused autism.
Antidepressants and Autism
Recent research indicates that there is a correlation between autism and autism spectrum disorders and SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) such as Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, Effexor and Paxil when taken during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester.
There is also evidence to indicate that the asthma medication Terbutaline (brand names Brethine and Bricanyl) given off-label to treat preterm or premature labor is associated with autism.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Health care professionals refer to autism as a group of disorders with similar features, known as Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). An autistic person may develop serious cognitive and behavioral problems while another may not display any symptoms.
ASD category includes:
Autism is a significant developmental disability that can lead to problems with social interaction and communication. Typically, symptoms develop at an early age and may interfere or inhibit cognitive skills that develop from infancy to adulthood. Recent evidence suggests that SSRIs may be responsible for children developing autism while in utero. This is a serious issue because often, a woman taking SSRI antidepressants may not know for some weeks that she is pregnant.
- Autistic disorder (also known as “classic” autism)
- Asperger syndrome
- Childhood disintegrative disorder (rare)
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or atypical autism)
For more information on signs and symptoms of Autism, see The Mayo Clinic.
Studies on Autism and Drugs During Pregnancy
According to the Archives of General Psychiatry (one of the JAMA/Archives journals, July 2011), autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are increasing, and at the same time, use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy have increased in recent decades, “prompting concerns that prenatal exposure may contribute to increased risk of ASD”.
The study, "Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders", involved a total of 298 children with ASD and 1507 randomly selected control children and was conducted at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Northern California. It was one of the first studies to thoroughly research the link between autism and the use of SSRI antidepressants.
The report concluded that, “Although the number of children exposed prenatally to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in this population was low, results suggest that exposure, especially during the first trimester, may modestly increase the risk of ASD. The potential risk associated with exposure must be balanced with the risk to the mother or fetus of untreated mental health disorders. Further studies are needed to replicate and extend these findings.”
The most common SSRI antidepressants are the following:
Infants who are born to mothers taking any of the SSRI antidepressants above during part or all of their pregnancy are twice as likely as other infants to be diagnosed with autism or a related disorder, according to the study that appears in the Archives of General Psychiatry (above).
Duke University and Johns Hopkins University have conducted studies, some of which are ongoing, that suggest the asthma drug terbutaline, particularly taken within the 25-33 week timeframe of pregnancy may cause subtle brain damage that leads to autism.
Autism Drug Lawsuits
If your child was born with autism that may have been caused by taking an SSRI antidepressant or terbutaline during pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation.
Families dealing with autism are filing SSRI autism lawsuits that seek compensation for medical expenses, special education, suffering and other needs. Autism lawyers work on a contingency basis; call an autism attorney sooner than later.
Autism Legal Help
If you or a loved one has suffered damages in this case, please fill in the form to the right and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Last updated November 16 2011