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Antibiotics Put Children at Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Celiac.com 11/28/2012 - A team of researchers recently set out to determine whether childhood antianaerobic antibiotic exposure is associated with the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Their findings show that children who are treated with antianaerobic antibiotics face a significantly higher risk of developing IBD.
The team included Matthew P. Kronman, MD, MSCE, Theoklis E. Zaoutis, MD, MSCE, Kevin Haynes, PharmD, MSCE, Rui Feng, PhD, and Susan E. Coffin, MD, MPH.They are affiliated variously with the Division of Infectious Diseases, Seattle Children’s Hospital at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The team's findings appear in the 24 September issue of Pediatrics.
To get a better picture regarding use of antibiotics on children and a possible connection to IBD, the team conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from 464 UK ambulatory practices in The Health Improvement Network.
The study looked at all children in the network with 2 or more years of follow-up from 1994 to 2009. The team screened and excluded anyone with previous IBD. They then cataloged all antibiotic prescriptions used by all children in the study. Finally, they tracked the children's data from practice enrollment and IBD development, practice de-registration, 19 years of age, or death.
Their defined study parameters included the following antianaerobic antibiotics: penicillin, amoxicillin, ampicillin, penicillin/β-lactamase inhibitor combinations, tetracyclines, clindamycin, metronidazole, cefoxitin, carbapenems, and oral vancomycin.
Their study looked at 1,072,426 children for a total of 6.6 million person-years of follow-up. Of those children, 748 developed IBD. Children treated with antianaerobic antibiotics had nearly 1.52 cases of IBD per ten-thousand person years, while those who were not given antibiotics saw just 0.83 cases per ten-thousand person-years; for an 84% relative risk differential.
Antibiotic exposure throughout childhood was associated with the development of IBD, but this relationship decreased with increasing age at exposure. That is, the longer doctors waited to give children antibiotics, the more the risk of iBD went down.
Children treated with antibiotics before 1 year of age showed an adjusted hazard ratio of 5.51 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.66–18.28), while that decreased to 2.62 (95% CI: 1.61–4.25) for children first treated at 5 years old, and to 1.57 (95% CI: 1.35–1.84) for those first treated at 15 years of age. Overall, each course of antibiotics increased the IBD hazard by 6% (4%–8%).
The study showed that children who received two or more antibiotic courses were more highly likely to develop IBD than those who received 1 to 2 courses, with adjusted hazard ratios of 4.77 (95% CI: 2.13–10.68) versus 3.33 (95% CI: 1.69–6.58).
So, based on this study, treating children with antianaerobic antibiotics puts them at risk for developing IBD. It will be interesting to see how the medical community responds to this study, and whether there is greater effort made to avoid giving these powerful antibiotics to children.
What do you think? Do you have IBD? Did you receive these antibiotics as a kid? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
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