Paxil Among SSRI Antidepressants Linked to Autism

Noble McIntyre on July 7, 2011

According to researchers at Kaiser Permanente, use of antidepressants with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (Paxil, Zoloft, and others) by pregnant women may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their children. The study consisted of over 1,800 children and found that women who took an SSRI depressant during pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child born with ASD and women who took an SSRI during the first trimester of pregnancy were three times as likely to have a child born with ASD. These Paxil side effects are occurring more and more often as SSRIs are prescribed more frequently for depression, social anxiety disorder, and other conditions.

SSRIs are a relatively new class of antidepressants and reduce symptoms of depression by preventing certain nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing serotonin. Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Prozac Weekly, Sarafem, Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva, Zoloft, and Symbyax are SSRIs that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat depression. The results of the study on these drugs can be found in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

According to, autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). Children with autism have difficulty communicating and socially interacting with others and may have repetitive behaviors and interests. While there is no definitive cause of autism, researchers agree that the study done at Kaiser Permanente suggests a possible moderate link between SSRI antidepressants and autism. There is still research to be done, but researchers have still warned doctors that they should balance the mental health needs of mother with the potential risk of side effects in the child.     

Along with autism, Paxil, Zoloft, and other antidepressants have been linked to a wide range of birth defects. Paxil’s manufacture GlaxoSmithKline has been sued by numerous families for children born with various birth defects including congenital heart, abdominal, and cranial birth defects. Momentum has also been growing for birth defect lawsuits over Zoloft. Families have brought lawsuits against Zoloft’s manufacturer Pfizer alleging that the company failed to warn families about the potential dangerous side effects in children whose mother’s took Zoloft.

If you or a loved one has a child that has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or another type of birth defect, please contact a birth injury lawyer at McIntyre Law.   


Noble McIntyre

Noble McIntyre is the senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law who focuses primarily on drug litigation and catastrophic injury cases. He is currently representing clients injured by the drugs Paxil, Levaquin and testosterone therapy drugs and by clients affected by oil field injuries. His goal has and continues to be to work diligently on behalf of his clients to achieve the highest and best result for his clients’ injuries while maintaining professionalism and abiding by all ethical standards of his profession. Read more about Noble McIntyre.

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