Some of the Most Common Medications Can Cause Permanent Side Effects in Children

Prescription Medication Concept

The new study provides strong evidence that antibiotics cause unwanted immune responses.

A new study has found that early exposure to antibiotics can cause permanent asthma and allergies.

A recent study demonstrates that early exposure to antibiotics destroys beneficial bacteria in the digestive system and can cause asthma and allergies.

The research, which was published in the journal Mucosal Immunology, has offered the strongest evidence to date that the long-recognized link between early antibiotic exposure and the later onset of asthma and allergies is causative.

“The practical implication is simple: Avoid antibiotic use in young children whenever you can because it may elevate the risk of significant, long-term problems with allergy and/or asthma,” said senior author Martin Blaser, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers.

The study’s authors, from Rutgers University, New York University, and the University of Zurich, stated that antibiotics,  “among the most used medications in children, affect gut microbiome communities and metabolic functions. These changes in microbiota structure can impact host immunity.”

Five-day-old mice were given water, azithromycin, or amoxicillin in the first stage of the experiment. After the mice reached adulthood, scientists exposed them to a common allergen produced by house dust mites. Mice that had taken either antibiotic, particularly azithromycin, had heightened immunological responses — i.e., allergies.

The second and third stages of the experiment tested the hypothesis that certain healthy gut bacteria that are critical for proper immune system development are killed by early exposure to antibiotics (but not later exposure), which results in allergies and asthma.

Timothy Borbet, the lead author, initially transferred fecal samples rich in bacteria from the first group of mice to a second group of adult mice with no previous exposure to any bacteria or germs. Some received samples from mice given azithromycin or amoxicillin in infancy. Others received normal samples from mice that had received water.

Mice that received antibiotic-altered samples were no more likely than other mice to develop immune responses to house dust mites, just as people who receive antibiotics in adulthood are no more likely to develop asthma or allergies than those who don’t.

Things were different, however, for the next generation. Offspring of mice that received antibiotic-altered samples reacted more to house dust mites than those whose parents received samples unaltered by antibiotics, just as mice that originally received antibiotics as babies reacted more to the allergen than those that received water.

“This was a carefully controlled experiment,” said Blaser. “The only variable in the first part was antibiotic exposure. The only variable in the second two parts was whether the mixture of gut bacteria had been affected by antibiotics. Everything else about the mice was identical.

Blaser added that “these experiments provide strong evidence that antibiotics cause unwanted immune responses to develop via their effect on gut bacteria, but only if gut bacteria are altered in early childhood.”

Reference: “Influence of the early-life gut microbiota on the immune responses to an inhaled allergen” by Timothy C. Borbet, Miranda B. Pawline, Xiaozhou Zhang, Matthew F. Wipperman, Sebastian Reuter, Timothy Maher, Jackie Li, Tadasu Iizumi, Zhan Gao, Megan Daniele, Christian Taube, Sergei B Koralov, Anne Müller and Martin J Blaser, 16 July 2022, Mucosal Immunology.
DOI: 10.1038/s41385-022-00544-5


View Comments

  • Did any of the brilliant scientists working on this research suggest probiotic compensation for the children to re-establish a healthy gut? That would be cheaper than administrating vaccines.

  • My son is allergic to house dust and common cold which has been taken antibiotics from child, how can I stop this constant allergic

  • This is something we in the food allergy community have known for years. Very happy this is finally getting some exposure.

Recent Posts

Just Like Humans – More Intelligent Jays Have This Characteristic

Similar to humans, more intelligent jays display more self-control.  According to recent research, Eurasian jays…

December 3, 2022

Ride Along With Artemis Around the Moon [Official NASA Video]

Cameras on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft give us amazing views…

December 3, 2022

What Lies Beneath Yellowstone’s Volcano? Twice As Much Magma As Thought

Researcher’s expertise, energy, and empathy leave a legacy. Late MSU researcher Min Chen contributed to…

December 3, 2022

New Innovative System Evaluates the Habitability of Distant Planets

A computerized system categorizes planet atmospheres and determines which are viable for future settlement by…

December 3, 2022

New Catalyst Can Turn a Smelly Gas Byproduct Into a Cash Cow

A catalyst activated by light converts hydrogen sulfide into hydrogen energy in one step. Engineers and…

December 3, 2022

Scientists Discover That Binge-Eating Sweet Treats Is Influenced by Gut Microbiome

Gut Microbes Influence Binge-Eating of Sweet Treats in Mice We have all been there. You…

December 3, 2022