Study: Giving babies antibiotics, antacids may give them allergi - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Study: Giving babies antibiotics, antacids may give them allergies later

The study examined 800,000 children. (Source: AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli) The study examined 800,000 children. (Source: AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)

(RNN) – Exposing newborn babies to antacids and antibiotics might increase the risk that they develop allergies, according to a new study in JAMA Pediatrics.

The study’s fundamental finding, from a population of 792,130 children, was that there were “significant associations” between the use of acid-suppressive medications or antibiotics in infancy and later allergic conditions.

The journal reported that of the nearly 800,000 children logged in the survey, 7.6 percent were prescribed a histamine-2 receptor antagonist (H2RA), 1.7 percent were prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) and 16.6 percent were prescribed an antibiotic.

READ: The study's summary at the JAMA Pediatrics website 

Out of the study population, children given antibiotics were twice as likely to develop asthma and one and a half times more likely to develop the very serious and sometimes deadly allergic conditions considered anaphylactic.

The median age at which the children were prescribed antibiotics was 125 days, and the median days of prescription was just 10. The most frequently prescribed was amoxicillin.

Children prescribed H2RAs and PPIs were also about one and a half times more likely to develop anaphylaxis.

They were also more than twice as likely to develop food allergies, more than two and a half times in the case of PPIs, at least 1.25 times more likely to develop asthma and at least 1.7 times more likely to develop medication allergies.

“Let’s not prescribe these medicines for things that are very common in babies,” the senior author, Dr. Cade Nylund, told The New York Times. “Just because a baby spits up doesn’t mean that it’s a disease that requires treatment with a PPI. And we have to avoid overprescribing antibiotics for upper respiratory infections and other viral illnesses.”

The results were generally more pronounced in PPIs, which are used to treat stomach acid issues like heartburn and acid reflux disease. The most commonly prescribed PPI in the study was lansoprazole, popularly known by its brand name Prevacid. 

H2RAs can be used to treat similar conditions. The most common H2RA in the study was ranitidine, better known by its brand name Zantac.

JAMA Pediatrics is the primary pediatric journal published by the American Medical Association.

The study was conducted among children who were beneficiaries in the Tricare military health system, who were born between Oct. 1, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2013 and remained in the system for at least a year.

The median child was observed for about four and a half years.

The study attributed the possible link between acid-suppressive and antibiotic medications and increased risk of allergy to the alteration of a child's microbiome. The medications can cause intestinal dysbiosis (a microbial imbalance in the gut), and acid-suppressive medications specifically can decrease protein digestion in the stomach.

“This study provides further impetus that antibiotics and acid-suppressive medications should be used during infancy only in situations of clear clinical benefit,” the study concluded.

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