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Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2018 Sep;10(5):457-465. doi: 10.4168/aair.2018.10.5.457.

Effects of Antibiotics on the Development of Asthma and Other Allergic Diseases in Children and Adolescents.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
2
Department of Biostatistics, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
3
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. kshent@catholic.ac.kr.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Our aim was to explore whether antibiotic exposure in children and adolescents is associated with the later development of allergic diseases, using nationwide population-based claims data.

METHODS:

We collected information from the National Health Insurance Service (2006-2015) database. A total of 5,626,328 children and adolescents were eligible for the study. We explored whether exposure to antibiotics over the prior 7 years affects the later development of allergic diseases. We ran 3 analytical models after adjusting for confounding factors including age, sex, the number of visits to healthcare providers, income, and the place of residence (urban/rural).

RESULTS:

Allergic diseases were most common in male children and those aged < 10 years (atopic dermatitis, asthma and allergic rhinitis; all P < 0.01). Also, urban residents with higher incomes were more likely to develop allergic diseases (all P < 0.01). The annual number of days on which antibiotics were prescribed differed significantly between subjects with each allergic disease studied and a comparison group (all P < 0.01). Multiple logistic regression showed that as the duration of antibiotic exposure increased, the incidences of atopic dermatitis, asthma, and allergic rhinitis trended upward, even after adjusting for confounding factors (P for trend < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Antibiotic use early in life is associated with an increased risk of allergic disease, especially in young children; the risk increases as the duration of antibiotic therapy rises. Moreover, urban residence was more strongly associated with a longer duration of antibiotic use than was rural residence.

KEYWORDS:

Asthma; allergic rhinitis; antibiotics; atopic dermatitis; epidemiologic

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