New findings on ADHD medications during pregnancy

A study provides new insights into whether it’s safe both for infants and pregnant women if the mother takes certain stimulant medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during pregnancy.

The paper was published online November 1, 2017 and appears in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The study, led by Jacqueline Cohen, postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Epidemiology, showed a small increased risk of preterm birth and of the pregnancy complication preeclampsia among women taking certain psychostimulants. The researchers also found the non-stimulant ADHD medication atomoxetine did not appear to increase the risk of placental complications, suggesting that non-stimulant drugs may be a safer choice for women who take ADHD medications.

“The increases in risk identified do not warrant abstaining from critical treatment,” said Cohen in a November 10, 2017 Medscape Medical News article. “It is important to balance the benefits of treatment, which may improve functioning, including maintaining family relationships, adherence to prenatal care, and avoidance of substance abuse.”

The paper was one of two new studies on the subject discussed in the Medscape article. The other study, by Swedish researchers, was published in the November 2017 Pediatrics. The researchers and others interviewed by Medscape said that more research is needed to fully understand the possible health and safety risks of women taking stimulants during pregnancy.

Read the Medscape article: ADHD Drugs Associated With Modest Risks During Pregnancy