Antibiotics increase eczema risk in children, study reveals

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.

Related Stories

Eczema in infants linked to gut bacteria

Jan 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 t ...

Recommended for you

WHO: Ebola vaccine trials in W. Africa in January

10 hours ago

Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe, a top World Health Organization official ...

Ebola cases rise sharply in western Sierra Leone

11 hours ago

After emerging months ago in eastern Sierra Leone, Ebola is now hitting the western edges of the country where the capital is located with dozens of people falling sick each day, the government said Tuesday. So many people ...

User comments