In recent years, there has been a growing trend in the use of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medication during pregnancy. However, concerns have been raised about the long-term adverse effects of these medications on the offspring. A recent study aimed to address this concern by investigating the association between in utero exposure to ADHD medication and the potential for adverse long-term neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes in offspring.
The study, which was a population-based cohort study using data from the Danish national registers, included over one million liveborn singletons from 1998 to 2015. The offspring were followed until the end of 2018 or until any developmental diagnosis, death, or emigration occurred. The study compared children of mothers who continued taking ADHD medication during pregnancy with children of mothers who discontinued ADHD medication before pregnancy.
The main outcomes of the study were neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders, impairments in vision or hearing, epilepsy, seizures, or growth impairment during childhood or adolescence. After adjusting for demographic and psychiatric characteristics of the mothers, the study found no increased risk of any developmental disorders in offspring who were exposed to ADHD medication in utero. This was true for the combined group of disorders as well as for separate subcategories of disorders. The study also found no increased risk of any developmental disorders when negative control and sibling control analyses were performed.
These findings provide valuable reassurance for women with ADHD who depend on medication for daily functioning and who are considering continuing medication use during pregnancy. The study demonstrates that in utero exposure to ADHD medication does not result in any difference in neurodevelopment or growth in offspring compared to those who were not exposed to these medications.
In conclusion, the study highlights the importance of further research in this field to better understand the potential impact of ADHD medication on offspring. However, the results of this study provide reassuring evidence for women with ADHD who need to continue taking medication during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy and who are currently taking ADHD medication should discuss the potential risks and benefits of continuing medication use with their healthcare provider.