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PLoS One. 2015 Mar 25;10(3):e0122034. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122034. eCollection 2015.

Association between antibiotic prescribing in pregnancy and cerebral palsy or epilepsy in children born at term: a cohort study using the health improvement network.

Author information

1
UCL Institute of Child Health, Population Policy and Practice Programme, London, United Kingdom; UCL Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, London, United Kingdom.
2
UCL Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, London, United Kingdom.
3
UCL Institute of Child Health, Population Policy and Practice Programme, London, United Kingdom; Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Between 19%-44% pregnant women are prescribed antibiotics during pregnancy. A single, large randomised-controlled-trial (ORACLE Childhood Study II) found an increased risk of childhood cerebral palsy and possibly epilepsy following prophylactic antibiotic use in pregnant women with spontaneous preterm labour. We ascertained whether this outcome could be reproduced across the population of babies delivered at term and prospectively followed in primary-care using data from The Health Improvement Network.

METHODS:

We determined the risk of cerebral palsy or epilepsy in children whose mothers were prescribed antibiotics during pregnancy using a cohort of 195,909 women linked to their live, term-born, singleton children. We compared the effect of antibiotic class, number of courses and timing of prescribing in pregnancy. Analyses were adjusted for maternal risk factors (e.g. recorded infection, age, chronic conditions, social deprivation, smoking status). Children were followed until age seven years or cessation of registration with the primary-care practitioner.

RESULTS:

In total, 64,623 (33.0%) women were prescribed antibiotics in pregnancy and 1,170 (0.60%) children had records indicating cerebral palsy or epilepsy. Adjusted analyses showed no association between prescribing of any antibiotic and cerebral palsy or epilepsy (adj.HR 1.04, 95%CI 0.91-1.19). However, compared with penicillins, macrolides were associated with an increased risk of cerebral palsy or epilepsy (adj.HR 1.78, 95%CI 1.18-2.69; number needed to harm 153, 95%CI 71-671).

CONCLUSIONS:

We found no overall association between antibiotic prescribing in pregnancy and cerebral palsy and/or epilepsy in childhood. However, our finding of an increased risk of cerebral palsy or epilepsy associated with macrolide prescribing in pregnancy adds to evidence that macrolide use is associated with serious harm.

PMID:
25807115
PMCID:
PMC4373729
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0122034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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