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Taking Xanax during pregnancy does NOT increase risk of autism in babies, important study rules

Taking Xanax during pregnancy does NOT increase risk of autism in babies, important study rules

  • Taiwanese scientists analyzed 1.5 million babies for autism and exposure to Xanax
  • Recommendations not to take anti-anxiety drugs during pregnancy to stay in place
  • This is due to its association with developmental disorders and addiction in newborns

Taking Xanax during pregnancy does not increase a baby’s risk of autism, a large study has found.

Prescription of anxiety medications and rates of autism have increased in recent years, and previous studies suggested that the two may be related.

Researchers analyzed medical records of nearly 1.5 million mothers and children up to 14 years old who were born in Taiwan between 2004 and 2017.

After adjusting for other risk factors, such as genetic history of neurodevelopmental disorders, there was “no evidence” that anxiety medications correlated with a higher risk of childhood autism.

Dr. Vincent Chen, an epidemiologist who led the study, said: ‘This cohort study found no evidence that exposure to benzodiazepines during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of ASD or ADHD in offspring.

“Our results challenge current assumptions of a possible association between neurodevelopmental disorders and maternal benzodiazepine use before or during pregnancy.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says women should be aware of the risks of taking benzodiazepines, including sedation, low muscle tone, and labored breathing. But the link with autism has never been fully established.

Xanax does not increase a child’s risk of autism, a landmark study has determined (stock photo

Autism spectrum disorder refers to a wide variety of conditions in which children have difficulty interacting with their peers and may repeat behaviors.

It begins in early childhood, although some cases are not diagnosed until children are in their teens or early adulthood.

About 5 million people in the US are believed to have the condition.

Experts warn that anxiety pills could become the next opioid crisis

Experts warned today that the US risks creating an opioid-like crisis with anxiety pills if it decides to screen everyone under 65 for the condition.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, one of the most influential agencies in U.S. health care, last month recommended that the roughly 200 million Americans ages 18 and older get checked — even if they don’t have symptoms.

It would make clinical help for anxiety more accessible and force patients to jump through fewer hoops to get help, the doctors argue.

But experts told DailyMail.com it could lead to an increase in prescriptions for anxiety medications — already feared to be at the heart of a burgeoning addiction crisis in the US.

The most common anxiety medications fall into the class of benzodiazepines, with fast-acting drugs such as Xanax, Klomopin, Valium, and Ativan among the group.

Dr. Anna Lembke, chief of the Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic at Stanford University, told this website she feared the new guidelines had echoes of the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Jonathan Shedler, a psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Francisco, told Fox News that following the recommendation would be “terrible.”

Researchers at Chiayi Chang Guny Memorial Hospital in Chiayi, southwest Taiwan, investigated the link between autism and the use of benzodiazepines during pregnancy.

Benzodiazepines – including Xanax – are a class of psychoactive drugs known for their central nervous system depressant effect.

They quickly diffuse through the blood-brain barrier to produce calming effects.

They are used for people who struggle with sleep, anxiety, spasticity due to CNS pathology, muscle relaxation and epilepsy. One of the debilitating side effects is their addictive potential

Medical records of 1.13 million mothers were extracted, who had given birth to 1.5 million children.

All births occurred between 2004 and 2017.

Mothers’ medical records were examined for those prescribed benzodiazepines during pregnancy.

Children’s files were also viewed to show who had been diagnosed with autism.

Overall, 826 of the 76,000 children exposed to Xanax developed autism (1.1 percent).

In comparison, of the children not exposed to the drug, 13,200 of the 863,000 (0.9 percent) in the group were diagnosed with the condition.

Initially, the analysis showed a slightly higher risk of autism in babies whose mothers took Xanax.

In the first trimester they were 13 percent more likely to develop autism, in the second trimester 10 percent and in the third trimester 21 percent.

A sibling comparison was then performed – comparing the risk of autism in babies born to the same mother.

These results showed that there was no significant difference in the rate of autism between the two groups.

The study also looked at rates of ADHD in children.

But after adjusting for confounding factors, there was no difference in the prevalence of autism between babies whose mothers took the drugs during pregnancy compared to those whose mothers did not.


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