Antibiotics, Antacids in Early Childhood Increase Risk for Obesity

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Prescription of antibiotics and acid-suppressing medications in early childhood is associated with an increased risk for obesity.
Prescription of antibiotics and acid-suppressing medications in early childhood is associated with an increased risk for obesity.

HealthDay News — Prescription of antibiotics and acid-suppressing medications in early childhood is associated with an increased risk for obesity, according to a study published online Oct. 30 in Gut.

Christopher M. Stark, M.D., from the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, and colleagues performed a cohort study to examine the correlation of antibiotic, histamine-2 receptor antagonist (H2RA), and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) prescriptions in the first two years of life with obesity. A total of 333,353 children met inclusion criteria.

The researchers found that 72.4, 11.8, and 3.3 percent of children were prescribed an antibiotic, an H2RA, and a PPI, respectively. There was an association between antibiotic prescriptions and obesity (hazard ratio, 1.26). The correlation persisted regardless of antibiotic class and was strengthened with every additional antibiotic class prescribed. H2RA and PPI prescriptions also correlated with obesity; for each 30-day supply prescribed, the correlations were stronger. With exposure to each additional medication group prescribed, the hazard ratio increased commensurately.

"Although there is mounting evidence of unanticipated consequences associated with antibiotic and antiacid medication use, providers should practice appropriate stewardship as the first-line response to these findings," the authors write.

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