A new study has found that there’s a good chance children develop juvenile arthritis when given too many antibiotics. In fact, kids and teens that are frequently prescribed antibiotics have twice the chance of developing the condition than children who rarely take antibiotics.
Dr. Daniel Horton, lead author and postdoctoral research fellow at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the Department of Pediatrics, gave a statement informing that “This risk was greatest within a year of receiving antibiotics and increased with the number of antibiotic courses children were prescribed”.
Dr. Horton also pointed out that the children who may develop juvenile arthritis as a result of taking antibiotics are only a small subset that are genetically predisposed to developing the autoimmune disease sooner or later.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informs that somewhere between 4.300 and 9.700 kids under the age of 16 develop juvenile arthritis in the United States on a yearly basis. What’s more, roughly a quarter of them develop it because they’re genetically predisposed to it.
Symptoms may include pain and / or swelling in at least one of the joints, eye inflammation, fevers and rashes.
Dr. Horton advices parents not to give antibiotics to their kids for infections that would normally get better on all their own.
For their study, the lead author and his colleagues looked at data gathered on 450.000 children by The Health Improvement Network. They focused on 152 of them who had been recently diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, and compared them to a group of children of the same age and sex.
The results showed that children who had been prescribed antibiotic treatments on one occasion were twice as likely to develop juvenile arthritis, while children who had been prescribed antibiotic treatments on five (5) different occasions were three (3) times as likely to develop juvenile arthritis.
An interesting finding is that children are often given antibiotics to fight off harmless infections that would normally get better on their own if left untreated. Aside from juvenile arthritis, children who’ve been overprescribed antibiotics may also experience allergic reactions, obesity, diarrhea and other diseases.
It’s important to note that antiviral and antifungal meds were not proven to have the same effect on kids and teens as antibiotics.
The study was published earlier this week, on Monday (July 20, 2015), in the journal Pediatrics.
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