Antibiotic exposure in infancy may boost eczema risk

July 1, 2013

Children with eczema are more likely to have been exposed to antibiotics in the first year of life, recent research suggests.

 

Children with eczema are more likely to have been exposed to antibiotics in the first year of life, recent research suggests.

Researchers with Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 observational studies of children and young adults ages 0 to 25. They looked at the impact of antibiotic exposure in utero or in the first 12 months of life on eczema risk later in life, according to the study abstract.

The pooled odds ratio (OR) for the studies examining postnatal antibiotic exposure was 1.41 (95 percent confidence interval [CI] 1.30 to 1.53). The pooled OR for the 10 longitudinal studies was 1.40 (1.19 to 1.64), compared to a pooled OR of 1.43 (1.36 to 1.51) for seven cross-sectional studies.

“There was a significant dose-response association, suggesting a 7 percent increase in eczema risk for each additional antibiotic course received during the first year of life (pooled OR = 1.07 [1.02-1.11]),” the study authors noted.

The pooled OR for four studies related to antenatal exposure was 1.30 (0.86-1.95).

The findings were published online June 20 in the British Journal of Dermatology