The incidents of childhood asthma are decreasing in some parts of North America and Europe, and the use of antibiotics has been linked to the increased risk of asthma. The objective of this study is to test if the decrease in asthma incidence in children is related to the reduced antibiotic prescriptions over the last few years.

This study consisted of prospective cohort and population-based analysis. The researchers used administrative data from BC, Canada, on annual rates of antibiotic prescriptions and asthma diagnoses to evaluate the association between antibiotics and asthma incidence in children. A total of 2,644 children from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) were examined for antibiotic use and the diagnosis of asthma.

The researchers found that asthma incidence in children (aged 1-4 years) showed a decrease of 7.1 new diagnoses per 1,000 children, and this reduction was associated with decreased antibiotic use in infancy. The team of researchers also discovered that there was a 24% increase in asthma incidence per 10% increase in an antibiotic prescription.

The research concluded that the reduction in the incidence of childhood asthma in recent years is directly or indirectly linked to the prudent use of antibiotics during infancy.