(HealthDay News) – Early exposure to antianaerobic antibiotics in childhood is associated with an increased risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to research published online Sept 24 in Pediatrics.

Matthew P. Kronman, MD, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed data from 464 U.K. ambulatory practices participating in The Health Improvement Network. Children followed for at least two years during the period of 1994–2009 were monitored between practice enrollment and IBD development, practice deregistration, 19 years of age, or death. Patients with previous IBD were excluded.

The researchers found that, of the 1,072,426 subjects, 748 developed IBD. The incidence rates of IBD were 0.83 per 10,000 person-years for unexposed children and 1.52 for exposed children, correlating with an 84% increase in the relative risk. While exposure throughout childhood was associated with developing IBD, this relationship decreased with increasing age at exposure (adjusted hazard ratios: 5.51 for exposure before the age of 1 year; 2.62 for age 5; and 1.57 for age 15). Each antibiotic course correlated with a 6% increase in the IBD hazard. There was a dose-response effect noted, with receipt of more than two antibiotic courses more strongly linked to IBD development compared with receipt of one to two courses, with adjusted hazard ratios of 4.77 vs. 3.33.

“Exposure to antianaerobic antibiotics during childhood was associated with development of the lifelong autoimmune condition IBD,” the authors write. “Our study suggests that reduction in childhood antianaerobic antibiotic use may have the potential to help curb the rising incidence of childhood IBD.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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