Antibiotics Before Age One Double Asthma Risk

Additional courses of antibiotics increase asthma risk

WEDNESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotics use during the first year of life is associated with a twofold higher risk of developing asthma in childhood compared with no antibiotic use, and additional courses of antibiotics further increase the risk, Canadian researchers report in the March issue of Chest.

Carlo Marra, Pharm.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver performed a meta-analysis of eight studies, four prospective and four retrospective, that examined the association between treatment with at least one course of antibiotics during the first year of life and the development of childhood asthma. A total of 12,082 children and 1,817 asthma cases were considered for the analysis comparing antibiotic exposure to no exposure, while 27,167 children and 3,392 asthma cases were considered in the dose-response analysis.

According to the study, the odds ratio for the pooled studies was 2.05, with a stronger association in the retrospective studies (odds ratio 2.82) than the prospective studies (OR 1.12). For the dose-response analysis, the researchers found an odds ratio of 1.16 for each additional course of antibiotics, with the association being similar in the prospective and retrospective studies.

"Exposure to at least one course of antibiotics in the first year of life appears to be a risk factor for the development of childhood asthma," Marra and colleagues conclude.

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