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Antacid Medication in Pregnancy May Increase Childhood Asthma
Date:12/16/2008

Population-based study links maternal prescriptions with child health data.

Boston, MA (Vocus) December 16, 2008 -- Children of mothers who took acid-suppressive drugs during pregnancy had a 1.5 times higher incidence of asthma when compared to children who were not exposed to the drugs in utero, finds a large population-based study by researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston. The findings, accompanied by an editorial, appear online this week in “Early View” in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy. (They will be formally published online on January 19, 2009 and will appear in the journal’s February print edition.)

Lead researchers Elizabeth Hait, MD,MPH and Edda Fiebiger, PhD and first author Eleonora Dehlink, MD PhD, of the Division of Gastroenterology/Nutrition at Children’s, examined mother-child allergy relationships using national health registers in Sweden, which contain records of all hospitalizations and drug prescriptions. By linking data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register with the Hospital Discharge Register and the Prescribed Drug Register, the team was able to identify mothers who took acid-blocking medicines during pregnancy. “We also used the registries to identify children who were hospitalized for allergic disorders or received a prescription for allergies, and then traced them back to their mothers,” says Hait.

The team analyzed data from over 585,000 children, born between 1995 and 2004. Overall, about 5,600 children (just under 1 percent) had been exposed to acid suppression therapy during pregnancy, and more than 29,000 (5 percent) had a discharge diagnosis of allergy or prescriptions for allergy medications by 2006. Maternal use of acid-suppressive medicines was associated with a 43 percent greater likelihood that a child would be hospitalized or receive prescriptions for allergic conditions. As
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