Food Allergies May Be Higher In Children Who Receive Antibiotics During First Year

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bryan L. Love, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID Associate Professor Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Outcomes Sciences South Carolina College of Pharmacy - University of South Carolina Columbia, South Carolina 29208-0001

Dr. Bryan Love

Bryan L. Love, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID
Associate Professor
Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Outcomes Sciences
South Carolina College of Pharmacy
University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina 29208-0001

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In the US, food allergy has become one of the more common childhood medical conditions diagnosed in young children. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed in young children, and research continues to reveal that as many as 30% of antibiotic prescriptions are not appropriate.* We sought to examine if there was an association between antibiotic prescription and food allergy diagnosis.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: In our study, we examined electronic medical records for 1,504 children with food allergy matched with 5,995 children without food allergy based on sex, race and month/year of birth. We found that the odds of food allergy diagnosis (OR 1.21; 95% CI 1.06-1.39) were higher in children who received antibiotics in the first year of birth compared to children without any antibiotic prescription. The likelihood of food allergy diagnosis was greatest in children with 5 or more antibiotic prescriptions (OR 1.64; 95% CI 1.31-2.05). These findings were present after controlling for potential confounders including breastfeeding, vaginal birth, asthma/wheezing, eczema, tobacco exposure and urban residence.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Readers will be interested to know that antibiotics received in the first year of life were associated with food allergy diagnosis. It is also important to note that the association was stronger in children who received multiple courses of antibiotics.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: As this is an association study, it cannot identify biologic mechanisms for why this association between food allergy and antibiotics exists. We have theorized that it may be due to changes in the microbiota caused by repeated antibiotic exposure, but there may be other reasons why children with food allergy are more likely to receive antibiotics. As such, additional studies are necessary to determine why the association between food allergy and antibiotics exists.

*See JAMA. 2016;315(17):1864-1873.
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Citation:

Antibiotic prescription and food allergy in young children
Bryan L. Love,Joshua R. Mann,James W. Hardin,Z. Kevin Lu,Christina Cox and David J. Amrol
Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology2016 12:41
DOI: 10.1186/s13223-016-0148-7
Published: 17 August 2016

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