Study links antibiotic use in children to juvenile arthritis

children smiling for WEB Study links antibiotic use in children to juvenile arthritisChildren who take antibiotics are twice as likely to develop juvenile arthritis than children who do not take the antibacterial drugs, and the risk increases with each subsequent round of antibiotics given to a child, according to a new study.

The risk was highest within a year of taking antibiotics and increased with each course children were prescribed, says lead study author, Dr. Daniel Horton, a research fellow with the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Child Health Institute of New Jersey.

Researchers say the likelihood that a child will develop juvenile arthritis is rare – about one in 10,000. The study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, but it does suggest that careful consideration should be given before prescribing antibiotics to children.

The findings further validate concerns of overprescribing of antibiotics – especially for children. Previous research has found that about 25 percent of all antibiotics are prescribed to children, and about half of the prescriptions for conditions such as acute respiratory infections are unnecessary since the infections improve without treatment. The drugs are used to treat bacterial infections and do not benefit patients with viral infections.

Juvenile arthritis, also known as pediatric rheumatic disease, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that causes symptoms such as pain, joint swelling, and redness. There is no cure for the condition. Most treatment plans involve a combination of medication, physical activity, and healthy eating.

Source: Pioneer News