Early life antibiotic exposure linked to respiratory conditions in childhood
Early antibiotic exposure during the first 2 years of life was significantly associated with the development of several distinct respiratory conditions, including asthma and allergic rhinitis, later in childhood.
“The present study highlights the prevalent use of antibiotics in infants and reveals concerning associations between exposure to antibiotics and distinct immunological, metabolic and neurobehavioral health conditions and the occurrence of combinations of these conditions during childhood,” Zaira Aversa, MD, PhD, researcher at Mayo Clinic’s Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, and colleagues wrote in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The population-based cohort study included 14,572 children (51.7% boys) born in Olmsted County, Minnesota, from 2003 to 2011. Researchers obtained demographic, antibiotic prescription and diagnostic code data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project medical records-linkage system.
Seventy percent of children received at least one antibiotic prescription in the first 2 years of life. Early antibiotic exposure was associated with increased risk for childhood-onset asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, celiac disease, overweight, obesity and ADHD (HR range = 1.2-2.89; P < .05).
Researchers observed the number, type and timing of antibiotic exposure further influenced the associated with developing respiratory conditions in childhood. Those exposed to antibiotics had a higher probability of developing combinations of conditions, especially when exposed to multiple antibiotic prescriptions during the first 2 years of life.
“Antibiotics prescribing patterns in childhood are extremely variable,” the researchers wrote. “With further study, practical clinical guidelines can be established to optimize the benefit and minimize the risk of antibiotics in children.”