Paternal SSRI Use Before Conception Linked to Offspring ADHD

Slightly increased ADHD risk in children born to fathers using SSRI in the three months preconception
Slightly increased ADHD risk in children born to fathers using SSRI in the three months preconception

HealthDay News — Paternal use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) before conception is associated with increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring, according to a study published online December 11 in Pediatrics.

Fen Yang, from Fudan University in Shanghai, and colleagues conducted a cohort study involving 781,470 singletons born between 1996 and 2008 who were followed through 2013. Children whose fathers used SSRIs during the 3 months preceding conception were identified as exposed. 

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The researchers found that 0.92% of children were born to fathers who had used SSRIs during the three months prior to conception. Overall, 12,520 children were diagnosed with ADHD. After adjustment for potential confounders, exposed children had a 26% increased risk of ADHD compared with unexposed children (hazard ratio, 1.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.06 to 1.51). When extending the exposure window to one year before conception, similarly increased risk of ADHD was seen for paternal use of SSRIs only during the period of 12 to three months before conception and during the last three months before conception (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.35 [95% confidence interval, 1.10 to 1.66] and 1.31 [95% confidence interval, 0.95 to 1.82]).

"The mildly increased risk of ADHD in offspring associated with paternal SSRI use before conception could probably be due to the underlying indications related to SSRI use," the authors write.

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