(HealthDay News) – The use of prescribed antipsychotics during pregnancy may result in significantly lower neuromotor performance in 6-month-old infants, according to a study published online April 2 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

To investigate whether intrauterine antipsychotic exposure correlated with deficits in neuromotor performance and habituation, Katrina C. Johnson, PhD, of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a prospective controlled study of 309 maternal-infant dyads at six months postpartum. Infants had been exposed to antipsychotics (22 infants), antidepressants (202 infants), or had no psychotropic exposure (85 infants). The Infant Neurological International Battery (INFANIB) exam was used to test posture, tone, reflexes, and motor skills. Habituation was assessed using a visual paradigm with a neutral female face.

The researchers found that, after controlling for confounding variables, INFANIB scores were significantly lower for infants exposed to antipsychotics than for those exposed to antidepressants or not exposed. Data showed that maternal psychiatric history, including depression, psychosis, and overall severity/chronicity were significantly associated with INFANIB scores (P‘s<0.05). Maternal depression during pregnancy was correlated with less efficient habituation (P<0.02). With respect to habituation, no significant differences were seen for the different medication groups.

“These data support an additional level of clinical scrutiny in medication selection, treatment planning, and risk/benefit discussions for women with illnesses who may warrant antipsychotic pharmacotherapy during gestation,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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