Children of consanguineous parents are three times more likely to be prescribed medications for common mood disorders than the children of nonrelated parents, according to a study published April 4.
In JAMA Psychiatry, researchers reported the results of a retrospective populationwide cohort study involving 363,960 individuals born in Northern Ireland between 1971 and 1986; 609 (0.2%) of whom were born to parents who were either first or second cousins.
The analysis showed a clear relationship between the degree of consanguinity and the likelihood of being prescribed psychotropic medications. After adjusting for known mental health risk factors, including birth weight, children of parents who were first cousins had threefold higher odds of being prescribed antidepressant or anxiolytic medicines (odds ratio, 3.01; 95% confidence interval, 1.24-7.31) and a twofold higher odds of receiving antipsychotics (OR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.29-3.51), compared with the children of nonconsanguineous parents.
“The results illustrate a clear increasing, stepwise association between level of consanguinity and mental ill health, suggesting a quasi–dose-response association, supporting a causal association between consanguineous parents and mental health of progeny,” wrote Aideen Maguire, PhD, and colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland).
Overall,, and 8.5% received antipsychotic medications, compared with one-quarter (26%) and 2.7% of nonrelated offspring.
Children of parents who were second cousins had an elevated but not statistically significant risk of receiving psychotropic medications (OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 0.63-2.71). None of these associations were affected by whether the births were singleton or multiple births.