Children exposed to at least one course of antibiotics in their first year of life may have an increased risk of developing childhood asthma. New research published in the March issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the
Antibiotic use in children has been found to coincide with an increased incidence of childhood asthma, said lead author Carlo Marra, Pharm D, PhD,
Researchers from the
In a dose-response analysis, researchers analyzed the reporting data from 27,167 children (3,392 asthma cases) from five studies to determine the effect that multiple courses of antibiotics in infants would have on the development of asthma. For each additional course of antibiotics taken during the first year of life, results showed a significant overall odds ratio of 1.16, suggesting that additional courses of antibiotics appeared to further increase the risk for asthma development. Again, this association was stronger for studies that were retrospective than for prospective studies.
In children, antibiotics are commonly used to treat ear infections, upper respiratory tract infections, and bronchitis, but not every childhood infection requires an antibiotic, said the study's co-author Fawziah Marra, MD, of the University of British Columbia. Current guidelines recommend that children under age 2 receive an antibiotic for diagnosed ear infection. However, the majority of upper respiratory tract infections and bronchitis is viral for which antibiotics are ineffective.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, affecting millions of children in the United States, said W. Michael Alberts, MD, FCCP, president of the American College of Chest Physicians. By identifying potential risk factors for asthma and educating patients and families about risk factors, we may begin to see a reduction in the overall incidence of asthma.
Source: American College of Chest Physicians