Zoloft and Autism

Is there a link between antidepressants like Zoloft and autism spectrum disorder? A new study in the The Archives of General Psychiatry raises this concern.

This retrospective study reviewed the medical records of more than 1,800 children, including 298 who have autism. The study found that the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder was about twice (an interesting multiplier from a Daubert standpoint for plaintiffs’ lawyers) as high among women who took SSRI antidepressants in the year before giving birth. The researchers thought that the risk appeared to be the greatest for moms who were taking an SSRI in the first trimester.

All right, so the obvious question: are there going to be lawsuits involving Zoloft and the other SSRIs and their link to autism. SSRIs have long been associated with an increased risk of homicidal and suicidal behaviors and, now, there is a lot of concern over whether Zoloft causes certain birth defects. But with respect to autism and Zoloft and its pharmacological SSRI cousins, I think plaintiffs’ lawyers will keep their eyes open but I don’t think Zoloft autism lawsuits are imminent.