Some Remarkable Antibiotic Facts

Late last week, there was a little review of the evils of antibiotic use in pregnant woman and babies in the Australian version of The Conversation.[i]  An incredible statistic:  apparently half of Australian infants get at least one round of antibiotics by their first birthday – one of the highest rates in the world.

 Most of what they point out, I’ve talked about before on this blog.  However, the article does point to some studies I hadn’t yet seen:

1.       1.  A 2015 study showed “…antibiotic exposure within the first year of life is associated with a 10-15% increased risk of obesity.”[ii]

2.      2.  Antibiotic use in early childhood (especially in the first year of life) is associated with the development of Crohn’s and Celiac diseases.  Children receiving over 7 rounds of antibiotics had as much as 7X the risk of developing IBD.

3.     3.   This same finding – early antibiotic exposure – is also associated with children developing juvenile arthritis.

4.      4.  A study done in Denmark showed that when a pregnant mother is given antibiotics, it enormously increases the risk of severe infection (requiring hospitalization) in her child during the first 6 years of life.  Not surprisingly, “Higher risks of infection-related hospitalization occurred when pregnancy antibiotic prescriptions were closer to birth and in mothers receiving more pregnancy antibiotics.”[iii]

 And by the way, for those of you interested:

 A study was published just a few days ago on the results of a survey of 1,741 families, looking for evidence of post-natal environmental causes of autism.  The authors found, “…evidence that postnatal acetaminophen use, postnatal antibiotic use, incidence of ear infection, and early weaning are associated with an increased risk of ASD.”[iv]

 I took a quick look to see if I could find any information on whether or not the unnecessary use of antibiotics is dropping, what with now a good 20 years worth of data showing these sorts of relationships.  It’s all pretty depressing. Here’s one of statistics I found, this one on the website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA:  “At least 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are unnecessary, according to new data published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)….”[v]

 I also found this, also from the CDC.  I have added the underlining and bold for you:

“The good news is that antibiotic prescribing nationally has improved with a five percent decrease from 2011 to 2014….Children under two and adults 65 and older still receive the most antibiotic prescriptions.[vi]

 I’ll try really hard to write about something at least a little more cheerful later this week.  I feel like the grim reaper lately.



[ii] Cox, LM, Blaser, MJ. Antibiotics in early life and obesity.  National Review of Endocrinology. 2015:11(3):182-190.

[iii] Miller, JE, Wu,C, Pedersen, LH, de Klerk, N, Olsen, J, Burgner, DP. Maternal antibiotic exposure during pregnancy and hospitalization with infection in offspring: a population-based cohort study. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2018:47(1):561-571.

[iv] Bittker, SS, Bell, KR.  Acetaminophen, antibiotics, ear infection, breastfeeding, vitamin D drops, and autism: an epidemiological study. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2018 May 31;14:1399-1414. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S15881

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