The use of antidepressants can cause severe side effects in the patients. However, little is known about the intake of antidepressants by parents and the outcomes in offsprings. The objective of this study is to investigate the association between paternal antidepressant use and the outcomes in offspring, like preterm birth, autism spectrum disorder, malformations, and intellectual disability.

This is an observational prospective cohort study that included a total of 170,508 children aged 8-9 years. The participants included 3,983 students born to fathers receiving antidepressant treatment during the conception period, 164,492 control children born to fathers with no antidepressant use, and 2,033 negative control children born to fathers who begun antidepressant treatment after conceiving. The primary outcomes of the study were offspring outcomes, including preterm birth, autism spectrum disorder, malformations, and intellectual disability.

The findings suggested that paternal antidepressant use was not associated with preterm birth (OR 0.91), autism spectrum disorder (1.13), malformations (1.06), and intellectual disability (0.82). Children born to fathers who initiated antidepressant treatment during pregnancy had an increased hazard ratio of intellectual disability (1.66).

The research concluded that paternal antidepressant treatment around the time of conception was not associated with a risk of preterm birth, autism spectrum disorder, or malformations, but it was linked to intellectual disability.

Ref: https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2233