A new study published by the Department of Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has revealed that children who were prescribed courses of antibiotics had twice the risk of developing juvenile arthritis. The risk is higher for antibiotics prescribed for acute respiratory infections and increases with additional exposure to antibiotics.
It is estimated that approximately 294,000 American children under the age of 18 suffer from arthritis or other rheumatic condition and causes pain, stiffness, mobility problems and in some cases loss of vision. Respiratory infections may be attributed to bacteria and over-prescribing antibiotics has an adverse health impact of the type of bacteria causing infection is not identified.
“Our research suggests another possible reason to avoid antibiotic overuse for infections that would otherwise get better on their own,” said lead author Daniel Horton, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ.
The researchers attribute the increased risk to the disruption of the but bacteria and the resulting immune impact as a result of taking a specific type of antibiotics.
“Antibiotics are one of the better-known disruptors of human microbial communities,” said Dr. Horton.
Antibiotic exposure and juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a case-control study, Daniel B. Horton et al., Pediatrics, doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0036, published online 20 July 2015, abstract.