Children whose mothers used an often-prescribed type of antidepressant during pregnancy may be more likely to develop speech and language disorders, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that mothers who bought selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs at least twice during pregnancy were 37 percent more likely to have a child with a speech and/or language disorder than those who did not take the antidepressants.
SSRIs include medicines such as Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft.
The study was observational, meaning it couldn’t prove that the drugs helped cause the language/speech problems, only that there was an association. And experts who reviewed the findings stressed that women who require an SSRI during their pregnancy may still want to stick with the drug.
“It must be remembered that the prevalence of speech-language disorders was very low in all of the offspring studied — including those infants exposed to SSRIs prenatally,” said Dr. Andrew Adesman. He’s chief of child, developmental & behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.