Well­ness Arti­cles

Antibi­otic Use Dur­ing the First Year of Life Increases the Risk for Asthma

A new study pub­lished in the June 2007 issue of the sci­en­tific jour­nal Chest shows that the risk of asthma is one and a half times greater in babies who received more than four courses of antibi­otics before age 1. The research was reported on the June 15, 2007 Med­scape web­site and in sev­eral news out­lets includ­ing the online June 11, 2007 Toronto Star.

Researchers reviewed health­care and pre­scrip­tion data­bases in Man­i­toba, Canada of over 13 thou­sand chil­dren to see if there was an asso­ci­a­tion between antibi­otic pre­scrip­tion use dur­ing the first year of life and asthma at the age of 7. The results showed that chil­dren who had been given antibi­otics in the first year of life were more likely to develop asthma by age seven. Chil­dren in this group who were given four courses of antibi­otics were most at risk.

Study author Anita L. Kozyrskyj, PhD, from the Uni­ver­sity of Man­i­toba in Win­nipeg, Canada, com­mented, “Since oral antibi­otics are fre­quently pre­scribed for upper and lower res­pi­ra­tory tract infec­tions in chil­dren, an under­stand­ing of the rela­tion between antibi­otic use and asthma is crit­i­cal to clin­i­cians and health-​care pol­i­cy­mak­ers world­wide.” She con­tin­ued, “To address the major method­olog­i­cal issues of reverse cau­sa­tion and selec­tion bias in epi­demi­o­logic stud­ies of antibi­otic use in early life and the devel­op­ment of asthma, we under­took a cohort study of this asso­ci­a­tion in a com­plete pop­u­la­tion of children.”

The authors noted that fur­ther stud­ies were needed but sug­gested, “In the interim, it would be pru­dent to avoid the unnec­es­sary use BS antibi­otics in the first year of life when other antibi­otics are avail­able.” They con­cluded, “Antibi­otic use in early life was asso­ci­ated with the devel­op­ment of child­hood asthma, a risk that may be reduced by avoid­ing the use of BS [broad-​spectrum] cephalosporins.”

The authors noted that fur­ther stud­ies were needed but sug­gested, “In the interim, it would be pru­dent to avoid the unnec­es­sary use BS antibi­otics in the first year of life when other antibi­otics are avail­able.” They con­cluded, “Antibi­otic use in early life was asso­ci­ated with the devel­op­ment of child­hood asthma, a risk that may be reduced by avoid­ing the use of BS [broad-​spectrum] cephalosporins.”

The Toronto Star inter­viewed Dr. Shel­don Spier, a pedi­atric respirol­o­gist at the Alberta Children’s Hos­pi­tal. Dr. Spier com­mented that this study may help explain why asthma devel­ops in some chil­dren. “This study really is quite impor­tant,” he con­tin­ued, “It tells us a lot more about asthma and the pos­si­ble fac­tors that lead to it. But we do have to be care­ful in our inter­pre­ta­tion of it.”

Ran­dom Article

Even with the threat of seri­ous adverse drug reac­tions, drug usage has not decreased. In an arti­cle in the Jan­u­ary 7, 1999 New

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