Antibiotics increase eczema risk in children, study reveals

June 20, 2013
Antibiotics increase eczema risk in children, study reveals

(Medical Xpress)—Use of antibiotics in early life may increase the risk of developing eczema by up to 40 per cent, according to a new study led by King's College London researchers, published today in the British Journal of Dermatology.

The research also found that each additional course of further raised the risk of by seven per cent.

The researchers, from King's, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Nottingham and the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, reviewed existing data from 20 separate studies that explored the link between antibiotic exposure prenatally and in the first year of life, and the subsequent development of eczema. They also examined whether the number of antibiotic courses affected the chances of developing the disease.

They found that children with eczema are more likely to have been treated with antibiotics in the first year of life, but not prenatally.

The paper's senior author Dr Carsten Flohr, King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', added: 'A better understanding of the complex relationship between and allergic disease is a priority for clinicians and health policymakers alike, as determination of a true link between antibiotic use and eczema would have far-reaching clinical and public health implications.'

'One potential explanation is that broad-spectrum antibiotics alter the and that this in turn affects the maturing immune system in a way that promotes allergic disease development,' said one of the study authors Dr Teresa Tsakok of Guy's and St Thomas'.

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said: 'Eczema is our most common , affecting one in every five children in the UK at some stage and causing a significant burden to the patient and the health service. including eczema have increased over past decades, particularly for children in high income countries, but the causes for this are not fully understood. The evidence is not conclusive and the researchers are not suggesting that parents should withhold antibiotics from children when doctors feel such treatment is necessary, but studies like this give an insight into possible avoidable causes and may help to guide medical practice.'

The researchers added a note of caution to their findings, explaining that use of antibiotics may in fact be a consequence of an increased occurrence of infections in children with eczema. Further research is needed that carefully examines the sequence of events between the age antibiotics are prescribed and the onset of eczema development.

Explore further: Eczema in infants linked to gut bacteria

Related Stories

Eczema in infants linked to gut bacteria

January 22, 2013

Children with eczema have a more diverse set of bacteria in their guts than non affected children, finds a new study in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Microbiology. The types of bacteria present were also more typical ...

Stopping the itch—new clues into how to treat eczema

October 11, 2012

More than 15% of children suffer with eczema, or atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disease that in some cases can be debilitating and disfiguring. Researchers reporting in the October issue of Immunity have discovered ...

Recommended for you

The 'love hormone' may quiet tinnitus

September 23, 2016

(HealthDay)—People suffering from chronic ringing in the ears—called tinnitus—may find some relief by spraying the hormone oxytocin in their nose, a small initial study by Brazilian researchers suggests.

Bile acid uptake inhibitor prevents NASH / fatty liver in mice

September 21, 2016

Drugs that interfere with bile acid recycling can prevent several aspects of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) in mice fed a high-fat diet, scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of ...

New therapeutic target for Crohn's disease

September 20, 2016

Research from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) identifies a promising new target for future drugs to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study, published today in Cell Reports, also indicates ...

Mosquitoes, Zika and biotech regulation

September 19, 2016

In a new Policy Forum article in Science, NC State professor Jennifer Kuzma argues that federal authorities are missing an opportunity to revise outdated regulatory processes not fit for modern innovations in biotechnology, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.