THURSDAY, March 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Antibiotic prescriptions in the first year of life are associated with an increased risk for type 1 diabetes in childhood, according to a study published online March 4 in Diabetes Care.

Mona-Lisa Wernroth, from Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues assessed the effect of early-life antibiotic treatment on the risk for type 1 diabetes using data from 797,318 singleton children born in Sweden between July 1, 2005, and Sept. 30, 2013, with follow-up through 2014 (median, 4 years).

The researchers found that type 1 diabetes developed in 1,297 children during the follow-up. There was an increased risk for type 1 diabetes associated with antibiotics prescribed in the first year of life (23.8 percent; adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.19). The effect was larger among children delivered by cesarean section (P for interaction = 0.016). Exposure to antibiotics primarily used for treatment of acute otitis media and respiratory tract infections drove the association. There was also an association between antibiotic prescriptions in pregnancy (22.5 percent) and type 1 diabetes (adjusted HR, 1.15; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.32).

“The absolute risk is low, however, and antibiotics are likely to only make a small contribution to the overall risk of type 1 diabetes before age 10,” the authors write.

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