Maternal Use of ADHD Meds Linked to Neonatal Morbidity

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Increased risk of neonatal morbidity, especially CNS-related disorders
Increased risk of neonatal morbidity, especially CNS-related disorders

(HealthDay News) — Exposure to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of neonatal morbidity, according to a study published online Nov. 10 in Pediatrics.

Ulrika Nörby, Ph.D., from Lund University in Sweden, and colleagues examined perinatal outcomes for singletons born between 2006 and 2014 in Sweden after maternal use of ADHD medication during pregnancy. Infants exposed to ADHD medication during pregnancy were compared with infants whose mothers never used these drugs and infants whose mothers used ADHD medication before or after pregnancy. 

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The researchers found that 0.2 percent of the 964,734 infants were exposed to ADHD medication during pregnancy and 1 percent had mothers treated before or after pregnancy. Compared with no use and use before or after pregnancy, exposure during pregnancy was correlated with increased risk for admission to a neonatal intensive care unit (adjusted odds ratios, 1.5 and 1.2, respectively). Compared with nonexposed infants, infants exposed during pregnancy more often had central nervous system-related disorders and were more often moderately preterm (adjusted odds ratios, 1.9 and 1.3, respectively). The risk for congenital malformations or perinatal death was not increased.

"Treatment with ADHD medication during pregnancy was associated with a higher risk for neonatal morbidity, especially central nervous system-related disorders such as seizures. Because of large differences in background characteristics between treated women and controls, it is uncertain to what extent this can be explained by the ADHD medication per se," the authors write.

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