May 12, 2022

Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Not Linked to Epilepsy in Children

Article published by NewsWise

A new study suggests that antidepressant use by mothers during the first trimester of pregnancy does not increase the chances of epilepsy and seizures in babies. The research is published in the May 11, 2022, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“The findings of this study are very important,” said study author Ayesha Sujan, PhD, of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. “Pregnancy can be a trying time, and the addition of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can add to this burden. These findings may provide reassurance to women and their doctors considering the risks and benefits to medication.”

The study looked at over 1.7 million children born in Sweden over a 17-year period. Researchers identified more than 24,000 children who had been exposed to antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy and compared them to those who were not exposed.

While the authors found a higher prevalence of neonatal seizures and epilepsy among exposed children compared to unexposed children, after adjusting for factors in the mothers associated with an increase in the risk of seizures in their newborn, they found no link between antidepressant use by mothers during the first trimester and a child’s risk of seizures or epilepsy.