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Antibiotic Use Linked to Higher Odds of Juvenile Arthritis

Risk greatest within a year of receiving antibiotics; increases with number of courses prescribed

TUESDAY, July 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotic use may increase the risk of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), according to research published online July 20 in Pediatrics.

To analyze the possibility of an antibiotic exposure connection, investigators examined information obtained from a British electronic records system. The database included details on 152 JIA diagnoses among 454,457 children in the United Kingdom between 1 and 15 years old who were diagnosed from 1994 to 2013.

After cross-referencing antibiotic prescription histories among 1,520 healthy children and those with newly developed JIA, the study team concluded that taking antibiotics in childhood was linked to double the risk for the condition. And in the wake of five antibiotic courses, the risk tripled.

"This risk was greatest within a year of receiving antibiotics and increased with the number of antibiotic courses children were prescribed," lead author Daniel B. Horton, M.D., a research fellow with the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Child Health Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, told HealthDay. Antifungal and antiviral drugs did not show the same effect, he said.

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