Pregnant women who take diuretic medication for high blood pressure during the third trimester substantially raise the chances that their unborn children will develop schizophrenia by age 35, according to a new study.
Schizophrenia affects 1 in 100 people. Its symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, apathy, and distorted emotional expression. Symptoms usually first appear in adolescence and young adulthood.
The new investigation is the first to link a specific treatment regimen for any medical condition during pregnancy to schizophrenia in offspring, say psychiatrist Holger J. Srensen of the University of Copenhagen and his colleagues.
However, the existence of this association doesn't demonstrate that third-trimester diuretic use directly causes schizophrenia, the researchers emphasize in the March American Journal of Psychiatry.
"There's been no prior suggestion of a link between diuretic use by hypertensive women during pregnancy and schizoph