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Psychiatry AdvisorTreatment with SSRIs During Puberty Impacts Height

Treatment with SSRIs during childhood and adolescence is associated with decreased height and insulin growth factor levels.

The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during childhood for the treatment of anxiety or depression may lead to a delay in puberty, according to recent findings. This discovery, presented at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Meeting, adds to the growing body of knowledge about the potential side effects of SSRIs and their impact on developmental processes.

Key Points

  • Children receiving SSRIs for anxiety or depression face a higher risk for delayed puberty, relative to those not on SSRIs.
  • The study included children younger than 18 years with a diagnosis of either major depressive disorder (MDD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), divided into two cohorts: those taking SSRIs for their disorder and those who did not receive SSRI treatment.
  • Delayed puberty was diagnosed in 203 (0.184%) participants in the SSRI cohort compared with 141 (0.128%) in the non-SSRI cohorts.
  • The risk for delayed puberty was significantly higher for the SSRI group, with an odds ratio of 1.44 (95% CI, 1.16-1.78; P =.0008).
  • The investigators suggest that this may be due to the treatment’s impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which could lower hormones associated with typical development.

According to Mayo Clinic, SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants.

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