Antibiotic Use In Infancy And The Risk Of Asthma

January 9, 2012

A recent study of 193,412 children from 29 countries reported that children who received antibiotics in the first year of life had an increased risk of having asthma symptoms at 6 to 7 years of age.  The odds ratio for asthma in children who received antibiotics compared to children who did not receive antibiotics in the first year of life was 1.7-1.96.  It is unclear whether this association and increased risk is based upon cause and effect or reverse causation.  In other words, is this the result of the direct effect of antibiotics on the complex balance of the more than 500 species of microbes in the body and a subsequent impact on atopy (allergy) and asthma?  Or, were children who were predisposed to asthma or had early symptoms of asthma, more likely to be given antibiotics in the first year of life because of respiratory symptoms thought to be related to infection?  In any case, the association seems to be real and is definitely of interest.

Note: The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant as specific medical advice for a specific person.   If you have a medical problem, please contact your doctor.

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