BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: It has been suggested that maternal depression during pregnancy is associated with asthma in the offspring, but the role of medical treatment of depression is not known. Our goal was to examine whether prenatal antidepressant use increases the risk of asthma in the offspring.
METHODS: A cohort study was performed among all live singletons born in Denmark between 1996 and 2007. Mothers who had a diagnosis of depressive disorder and/or who used antidepressants 1 year before or during the index pregnancy were identified. Using a Cox proportional hazards regression model, we estimated the hazard ratio (HR) for asthma in the offspring after antidepressant use during pregnancy.
RESULTS: Of the 733 685 children identified, 84 683 had a diagnosis of asthma. A total of 21 371 children were exposed to prenatal maternal depression (ie, a diagnosis of depressive disorder or use of antidepressants 1 year before or during pregnancy). Prenatal maternal depression was associated with childhood asthma (HR: 1.25 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.20–1.30]). Overall, 8895 children were exposed to antidepressants in utero. Compared with children born to mothers with prenatal depression and no antidepressant use during pregnancy, the HR for asthma after any antidepressant use during pregnancy was 1.00 (95% CI: 0.93–1.08). HRs after use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors only, newer antidepressants only, and older antidepressants only were 0.95 (95% CI: 0.88–1.03), 1.11 (95% CI: 0.89–1.39), and 1.26 (95% CI: 1.02–1.55), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Antidepressant use during pregnancy generally did not increase the risk of asthma. Only use of older antidepressants was associated with an increased risk of asthma.
- Accepted January 22, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics