Study Links Prenatal Antipsychotic Exposure to Developmental Delays and ADHD

A comprehensive review indicates that children exposed to antipsychotics in the womb face an increased risk of ADHD and developmental delays.


A new meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Caring Sciences finds a link between in-utero exposure to antipsychotics and increased risk for developmental delays and ADHD diagnosis.

Additionally, one study examined in the current research, headed by Evagelia Andrianopoulou of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, found that children exposed to atypical antipsychotics during the third trimester of pregnancy were much more likely to be diagnosed with autism.

The authors note that in many cases, the developmental delays linked to in-utero antipsychotic exposure were short-lived and disappeared after the exposed child was 6-12 months old. The authors write:

“Our meta-analysis showed a significant association between prenatal exposure to antipsychotics and an increased risk of adverse outcomes in the child related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social-emotional-mental development, and motor delay. Although we believe that the current data are insufficient to conclude that antipsychotics in the perinatal period cause increased morbidity, these results highlight that women receiving antipsychotic drugs in the perinatal period represent a population at higher risk for adverse outcomes for their children.”

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Richard Sears
Richard Sears teaches psychology at West Georgia Technical College and is studying to receive a PhD in consciousness and society from the University of West Georgia. He has previously worked in crisis stabilization units as an intake assessor and crisis line operator. His current research interests include the delineation between institutions and the individuals that make them up, dehumanization and its relationship to exaltation, and natural substitutes for potentially harmful psychopharmacological interventions.