Youths with prenatal exposure more likely to use drugs to treat depression, ADHD, addiction

-- Beth Gilbert

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 (Last Updated: 05/05/2010)

TUESDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to prenatal smoking is associated with an increased risk for use of psychiatric drugs -- particularly those used to treat depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and addiction -- in childhood and young adulthood, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from May 1 to 4 in Vancouver, Canada.

Mikael Ekblad, of Turku University Hospital in Finland, and colleagues collected data on all children born in Finland from 1987 to 1989 from the Finnish Medical Birth Register. They studied information on maternal smoking, gestational age, birth weight and five-minute Apgar scores. Mothers' psychiatric inpatient care from 1969 to 1989 and children's use of psychiatric drugs were also assessed.

The researchers found that 12.3 percent of the young adults had used psychiatric medications, 19.2 percent of whom had prenatal smoking exposure. The rate of psychotropic medication use was 16.9 percent in those whose mothers smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day, 14.7 percent in those whose mothers smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes a day, and 11.7 percent in those with no prenatal exposure. Prenatal exposure was associated with an increased risk for use of all psychotropic drugs, particularly stimulants used to treat ADHD and drugs for addiction. There was also an increased risk for use of drugs to treat depression.

"Recent studies show that maternal smoking during pregnancy may interfere with brain development of the growing fetus," Ekblad said in a statement. "By avoiding smoking during pregnancy, all the later psychiatric problems caused by smoking exposure could be prevented."

Abstract No. 4401.56
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Specialties Psychiatry
OBGYN & Women's Health
Family Practice

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