Paternal Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Use Linked to ADHD in Offspring

HealthDay News — Paternal use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) before conception is associated with increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring, according to a study published online in Pediatrics.

Fen Yang, from Fudan University in Shanghai, and colleagues conducted a cohort study involving 781,470 singletons born between 1996 and 2008 who were followed through 2013. Children whose fathers used SSRIs during the 3 months preceding conception were identified as exposed.

The researchers found that 0.92% of children were born to fathers who had used SSRIs during the 3 months prior to conception. Overall, 12,520 children were diagnosed with ADHD. After adjustment for potential confounders, exposed children had a 26% increased risk of ADHD compared with unexposed children (hazard ratio [HR], 1.26; 95% CI, 1.06-1.51). When extending the exposure window to 1 year before conception, similarly increased risk of ADHD was seen for paternal use of SSRIs only during the period of 12 to 3 months before conception and during the last 3 months before conception (adjusted HRs, 1.35 [95% CI, 1.10-1.66] and 1.31 [95% CI, 0.95-1.82]).

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“The mildly increased risk of ADHD in offspring associated with paternal SSRI use before conception could probably be due to the underlying indications related to SSRI use,” the authors write.


Yang F, Liang H, Chen J, et al. Prenatal paternal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors use and risk of ADHD in offspring [Published online December 11, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-1081