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1.  Prenatal Valproate Exposure and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Childhood Autism 
JAMA  2013;309(16):1696-1703.
Valproate is used for the treatment of epilepsy and other neuropsychological disorders and may be the only treatment option for women of childbearing potential. However, prenatal exposure to valproate may increase the risk of autism.
To determine whether prenatal exposure to valproate is associated with an increased risk of autism in offspring.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Population-based study of all children born alive in Denmark from 1996 to 2006. National registers were used to identify children exposed to valproate during pregnancy and diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (childhood autism [autistic disorder], Asperger syndrome, atypical autism, and other or unspecified pervasive developmental disorders). We analyzed the risks associated with all autism spectrum disorders as well as childhood autism. Data were analyzed by Cox regression adjusting for potential confounders (maternal age at conception, paternal age at conception, parental psychiatric history, gestational age, birth weight, sex, congenital malformations, and parity). Children were followed up from birth until the day of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, death, emigration, or December 31, 2010, whichever came first.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Absolute risk (cumulative incidence) and the hazard ratio (HR) of autism spectrum disorder and childhood autism in children after exposure to valproate in pregnancy.
Of 655 615 children born from 1996 through 2006, 5437 were identified with autism spectrum disorder, including 2067 with childhood autism. The mean age of the children at end of follow-up was 8.84 years (range, 4-14; median, 8.85). The estimated absolute risk after 14 years of follow-up was 1.53% (95% CI, 1.47%- 1.58%) for autism spectrum disorder and 0.48% (95% CI, 0.46%-0.51%) for childhood autism. Overall, the 508 children exposed to valproate had an absolute risk of 4.42% (95% CI, 2.59%-7.46%) for autism spectrum disorder (adjusted HR, 2.9 [95% CI, 1.7-4.9]) and an absolute risk of 2.50% (95% CI, 1.30%-4.81%) for childhood autism (adjusted HR, 5.2 [95% CI, 2.7-10.0]). When restricting the cohort to the 6584 children born to women with epilepsy, the absolute risk of autism spectrum disorder among 432 children exposed to valproate was 4.15% (95% CI, 2.20%-7.81%) (adjusted HR, 1.7 [95% CI, 0.9-3.2]), and the absolute risk of childhood autism was 2.95% (95% CI, 1.42%-6.11%) (adjusted HR, 2.9 [95% CI, 1.4-6.0]) vs 2.44% (95% CI, 1.88%-3.16%) for autism spectrum disorder and 1.02% (95% CI, 0.70%-1.49%) for childhood autism among 6152 children not exposed to valproate.
Conclusions and Relevance
Maternal use of valproate during pregnancy was associated with a significantly increased risk of autism spectrum disorder and childhood autism in the offspring, even after adjusting for maternal epilepsy. For women of childbearing potential who use antiepileptic medications, these findings must be balanced against the treatment benefits for women who require valproate for epilepsy control.
PMCID: PMC4511955  PMID: 23613074
2.  Adverse pregnancy outcomes after exposure to methylphenidate or atomoxetine during pregnancy 
Clinical Epidemiology  2015;7:139-147.
To determine if prenatal exposure to methylphenidate (MPH) or atomoxetine (ATX) increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in women with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Materials and methods
This was a population-based cohort study of all pregnancies in Denmark from 1997 to 2008. Information on use of ADHD medication, ADHD diagnosis, and pregnancy outcomes was obtained from nationwide registers.
We identified 989,932 pregnancies, in which 186 (0.02%) women used MPH/ATX and 275 (0.03%) women had been diagnosed with ADHD but who did not take MPH/ATX. Our reference pregnancies had no exposure to MPH/ATX and no ADHD diagnosis. Exposure to MPH/ATX was associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion (SA; ie, death of an embryo or fetus in the first 22 weeks of gestation) (adjusted relative risk [aRR] 1.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03–2.36). The risk of SA was also increased in pregnancies where the mother had ADHD but did not use MPH/ATX (aRR 1.56, 95% CI 1.11–2.20). The aRR of Apgar scores <10 was increased among exposed women (aRR 2.06, 95% CI 1.11–3.82) but not among unexposed women with ADHD (aRR 0.99, 95% CI 0.48–2.05).
MPH/ATX was associated with a higher risk of SA, but our study indicated that it may at least partly be explained by confounding by indication. Treatment with MPH/ATX was however associated with low Apgar scores <10, an association not found among women with ADHD who did not use MPH/ATX.
PMCID: PMC4317061  PMID: 25657597
attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; ADHD; methylphenidate; atomoxetine; pregnancy outcomes
3.  Post-Stroke Mortality, Stroke Severity, and Preadmission Antipsychotic Medicine Use – A Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84103.
Background and Purpose
It has been suggested that antipsychotic medication may be neuroprotective and may reduce post-stroke mortality, but studies are few and ambiguous. We aimed to investigate the post-stroke effects of preadmission antipsychotic use.
We conducted a nationwide, population-based cohort study of 81,143 persons admitted with stroke in Denmark from 2003–2010. Using Danish health care databases, we extracted data on preadmission use of antipsychotics and confounding factors. We examined the association between current, former, and never use of antipsychotics and stroke severity, length of hospital stay, and 30-day post-stroke mortality using logistic regression analysis, survival analysis, and propensity score matching.
Current users of antipsychotics had a higher risk of severe or very severe stroke on The Scandinavian Stroke Scale than never users of antipsychotics (adjusted odds ratios, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.29–1.58). Current users were less likely to be discharged from hospital within 30 days of admission than never users (probability of non-discharge, 27.0% vs. 21.9%). Antipsychotics was associated with an increased 30-day post-stroke mortality among current users (adjusted mortality rate ratios, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.29–1.55), but not among former users (adjusted mortality rate ratios, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.98–1.14).
Preadmission use of antipsychotics was associated with a higher risk of severe stroke, a longer duration of hospital stay, and a higher post-stroke mortality, even after adjustment for known confounders. Antipsychotics play an important role in the treatment of many psychiatric conditions, but our findings do not support the hypothesis that they reduce stroke severity or post-stroke mortality.
PMCID: PMC3885530  PMID: 24416196
4.  Antidepressant exposure in pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders 
Clinical Epidemiology  2013;5:449-459.
Both the use of antidepressant medication during pregnancy and the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder have increased during recent years. A causal link has recently been suggested, but the association may be confounded by the underlying indication for antidepressant use. We investigated the association between maternal use of antidepressant medication in pregnancy and autism, controlling for potential confounding factors.
We identified all children born alive in Denmark 1996–2006 (n=668,468) and their parents in the Danish Civil Registration System. We obtained information on the mother’s prescriptions filled during pregnancy from the Danish National Prescription Registry, and on diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders in the children and diagnoses of psychiatric disorders in the parents from the Danish Psychiatric Central Register. In a cohort analysis, we estimated hazard ratios of autism spectrum disorders in children exposed to antidepressant medication during pregnancy compared with children who were not exposed, using Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. Furthermore, we estimated the risk for autism spectrum disorder in a sibling design.
Children exposed prenatally to antidepressants had an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.5 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–1.9) for autism spectrum disorder compared with unexposed children. Restricting the analysis to children of women with a diagnosis of affective disorder, the adjusted hazard ratio was 1.2 (95% CI 0.7–2.1), and the risk was further reduced when exposed children were compared with their unexposed siblings (adjusted hazard ratio 1.1; 95% CI 0.5–2.3).
After controlling for important confounding factors, there was no significant association between prenatal exposure to antidepressant medication and autism spectrum disorders in the offspring.
PMCID: PMC3832387  PMID: 24255601
antidepressants; depression; autism; autism spectrum disorder; childhood autism; pregnancy
5.  Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure and Risk of Spontaneous Abortion – A Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72095.
To estimate the risk of spontaneous abortion after use of antidepressant medication during pregnancy.
From the Danish Medical Birth Registry and the Danish National Hospital Registry, we identified all pregnancies leading to in- or outpatient contacts in Denmark from February 1997 to December 2008. The Danish Registry of Medicinal Product Statistics provided information on the women's prescriptions for antidepressants during pregnancy. We obtained information on women who were diagnosed with depression from the Danish Psychiatric Central Registry. Adjusted relative risks (aRR) of spontaneous abortion were estimated according to exposure to antidepressants or maternal depression using binomial regression.
Of the 1,005,319 pregnancies (547,300 women) identified, 114,721 (11.4%) ended in a spontaneous abortion. We identified 22,061 pregnancies exposed to antidepressants and 1,843 with a diagnosis of depression with no antidepressant use, of which 2,637 (12.0%) and 205 (11.1%) ended in a spontaneous abortion, respectively. Antidepressant exposure was associated with an aRR of 1.14 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10–1.18) for spontaneous abortion compared with no exposure to antidepressants. Among women with a diagnosis of depression, the aRR for spontaneous abortion after any antidepressant exposure was 1.00 (95% CI 0.80–1.24). No individual selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) was associated with spontaneous abortions. In unadjusted analyses, we found that mirtazapine, venlafaxine, and duloxetine were associated with spontaneous abortions among women with depression but we had no information on potential differences in disease severity and only few pregnancies were exposed in the population.
We identified a slightly increased risk of spontaneous abortion associated with the use of antidepressants during pregnancy. However, among women with a diagnosis of depression, antidepressants in general or individual SSRI in particular were not associated with spontaneous abortions. Further studies are warranted on the newer non-SSRI antidepressants, as we had insufficient data to adjust for important confounding factors.
PMCID: PMC3756033  PMID: 24015208
6.  Gestational Age, Birth Weight, Intrauterine Growth and Risk for Epilepsy 
American journal of epidemiology  2007;167(3):262-270.
The authors evaluated the association between gestational age, birth weight, intrauterine growth and epilepsy in a population-based cohort of 1.4 million singletons born in Denmark (1979-2002). A total of 14,334 individuals were registered with epilepsy in the Danish National Hospital Register as inpatients (1979-2002) and outpatients (1995-2002). Information on gestational age and birth weight was obtained from Danish Medical Birth Registry. Children small at birth were identified through two methods: 1) sex-, birth order-, and gestational-age-specific z-score, and 2) deviation from the expected birth weight estimated based on the birth weight of an older sibling. The incidence rates of epilepsy increased consistently with decreasing gestational age and birth weight. The incidence rate ratios (IRR) for epilepsy in the first year of life were more than five-fold in children born at 22-32 weeks compared with children born at 39-41 weeks, and in children with a birth weight <2,000 grams compared with children of 3,000-3,999 grams. The IRRs decreased with age, but remained elevated into early adulthood. Children identified as growth-restricted according to either of the two methods had increased IRRs for epilepsy, even among children with a ‘normal’ birth weight of 3,500-3,999 grams. Low gestational age at birth and low birth weight are associated with an increased risk of epilepsy throughout childhood and persisting into puberty. Intrauterine growth restriction is associated with an increased risk of epilepsy, even among children with a birth weight in a normal range.
PMCID: PMC2632964  PMID: 18042672
7.  Prenatal Stress and Risk of Febrile Seizures in Children: A Nationwide Longitudinal Study in Denmark 
We aimed to examine whether exposure to prenatal stress following maternal bereavement is associated with an increased risk of febrile seizures. In a longitudinal population-based cohort study, we followed 1,431,175 children born in Denmark. A total of 34,777 children were born to women who lost a close relative during pregnancy or within 1 year before the pregnancy and they were included in the exposed group. The exposed children had a risk of febrile seizures similar to that of the unexposed children (hazard ratio (HR) 1.00, 95% CI 0.94–1.06). The HRs did not differ according to the nature or timing of bereavement. Our data do not suggest any causal link between exposure to prenatal stress and febrile seizures in childhood.
PMCID: PMC2694316  PMID: 19291382
Prenatal stress; Bereavement; Febrile seizures; Fetal programming; Longitudinal study
8.  Use of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy and risk of spontaneous abortion and stillbirth: population based cohort study 
Objective To determine whether use of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy may increase the risk of spontaneous abortion or stillbirth.
Design Population based cohort study.
Setting Register based study in Denmark, 1997-2008.
Participants 983 305 pregnancies identified in the Danish medical birth register and the Danish national hospital discharge register from 1 February 1997 to 31 December 2008 were linked to the Danish Register of Medicinal Product Statistics to obtain information on use of antiepileptic drugs.
Main outcome measures Risk ratio of spontaneous abortion and stillbirth after use of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy, estimated by using binomial regression adjusting for potential confounders of maternal age, cohabitation, income, education, history of severe mental disorder, and history of drug misuse.
Results Antiepileptic drugs were used in a total of 4700 (0.5%) pregnancies. 16 out of 100 pregnant women using antiepileptics and 13 out of 100 pregnant women not using antiepileptics experienced a spontaneous abortion. After adjusting for potential confounders pregnant women using antiepileptics had a 13% higher risk of spontaneous abortions than pregnant women not using antiepileptics (adjusted risk ratio 1.13, 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 1.24). However, the risk of spontaneous abortion was not increased in women with an epilepsy diagnosis (0.98, 0.87 to 1.09), only in women without a diagnosis of epilepsy (1.30, 1.14 to 1.49). In an analysis including women with at least two pregnancies with discordant antiepileptic drug use (for example, use in the first pregnancy but not in the second), the adjusted hazard ratio for spontaneous abortion was 0.83 (0.69 to 1.00) for exposed pregnancies compared with unexposed pregnancies. Stillbirth was identified in 18 women who used antiepileptic drugs (unadjusted risk ratio 1.29, 0.80 to 2.10).
Conclusion Among women with epilepsy and when analysing the risk in antiepileptic drug discordant pregnancies in the same woman, we found no overall association between the use of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy and spontaneous abortions. Therefore unmeasured confounding may explain the slight increased risk for spontaneous abortion with any antiepileptic drug use (among women both with and without epilepsy). We found no association between antiepileptic drug use during pregnancy and stillbirth, but the statistical precision was low.
PMCID: PMC4141333  PMID: 25150301

Results 1-8 (8)