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    Antibiotics During Pregnancy Increase Risk of Asthma

    AntibioticsMothers of children at increased risk for developing asthma should avoid antibiotics during pregnancy, says a new study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

    Recent studies on antibiotics have focused on the overuse and misuse of the lifesaving class of medications. The over-prescription of antibiotics has increased the number of drug-resistant “superbugs” and decreased the effectiveness of many treatments.

    For the present study, researchers sought to determine whether prenatal antibiotic use is associated with an increased risk of asthma and wheezing in children at risk for asthma. The researchers followed 298 mother-child pairs through age 1 of the child using data from a randomized education intervention of families at risk for asthma from 1998 followed through 2009 in urban Chicago.

    According to the study, 22 percent of the 103 children born to mothers who took antibiotics during pregnancy received asthma diagnoses by age 3. In contrast, only 11 percent of the remaining children born to mothers who did not take antibiotics during pregnancy developed asthma.

    Says study author Brittany Lapin, MPH:

    “We were particularly interested in how prenatal antibiotic use affected at-risk children — those with a parent with asthma, hay fever or eczema. The prevalence in asthma has doubled in developed countries in the last 30 years, and we’re still investigating why poor and minority children are diagnosed more frequently. The message to pregnant women is to avoid antibiotics to the extent that they can, and possibly avoid asthma development in their children.”

    The study did not reveal an association between the use of antibiotics during pregnancy and an increased risk of wheezing.

    Comments allergist and study co-author Dennis Ownby, MD, ACAAI Fellow:

    “The more we know about what factors increase the probability of asthma developing, the better we can assist our pregnant patients. We wouldn’t recommend not giving antibiotics to a pregnant woman, but we recommend caution when symptoms are not clearly caused by a bacterial infection. Pregnant women with asthma should work with their allergist to create a healthy outcome for themselves and their children.”

    Another recent study found that preterm birth increases the risk of asthma and wheezing disorders during childhood.

    References

    Pregnant women with asthma need to curb urge to ask for antibiotics: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/290343.php
    Pregnant women with asthma need to curb urge to ask for antibiotics: http://acaai.org/news/pregnant-women-asthma-need-curb-urge-ask-antibiotics
    Relationship between prenatal antibiotic use and asthma in at-risk children: http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(14)00855-2/abstract

    Image Credits

    Antibiotics: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalsbeek/423568746/

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