Antibiotic consumption in children prior to diagnosis of asthma

Fawziah Marra, Carlo A. Marra, Kathryn Richardson, Larry D. Lynd, Mark J. FitzGerald

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Asthma is difficult to diagnose in children and at times misdiagnosis of an infection can occur. However, little is known about the magnitude and patterns of antibiotic consumption in children with asthma relative to those without asthma.

Using population-based data, 128,872 children were identified with at least 6 years of follow-up. The adjusted rate-ratio (RR) of antibiotics dispensed to asthmatic as compared to non-asthmatic children was determined.

At age six, the RR of antibiotic consumption for asthmatics compared to non-asthmatics varied between, 1.66 to 2.32, depending on the year of asthma diagnosis. Of the 18,864 children with asthma at ages 2-8, 52% (n = 9,841) had antibiotics dispensed in the 6 months prior to their index date of asthma diagnosis. The RR of antibiotic consumption in the 1 month prior to asthma diagnosis compared to 5 months prior was 1.66 (95% CI 1.60-1.71). The RR was lower in males compared to females (1.58 vs 1.77), and lower in those who received antibiotics in the first year of life relative to those that did not (1.60 vs. 1.76).

There is higher antibiotic consumption in children with asthma compared to those without asthma. The pattern of antibiotic use suggests that diagnosis guidelines are difficult to follow in young children leading to misdiagnosis and over treatment with antibiotics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2011

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