Association between antibiotic use and primary idiopathic intussusception

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003 Jan;157(1):54-9. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.157.1.54.


Background: Intussusception is the leading cause of intestinal obstruction in young children. Antibiotics are the most frequently prescribed medication in the pediatric population and have common adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract.

Objective: To determine whether a relationship exists between primary idiopathic intussusception and antibiotic drug use.

Design: Case-control study.

Participants: Ninety-three case patients with intussusception and 353 injury controls younger than 4 years who were seen at the emergency department of the Children's Hospital of Alabama between January 1, 1996, and April 30, 2001, were included. Controls were matched to cases by quarter and year of time of diagnosis, age, and sex.

Main outcome measures: Odds ratios and 2-sided 95% confidence intervals were estimated using conditional logistic regression. Prevalence of antibiotic use in an age-standardized, representative sample of US children from NHANES III (Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) was used for external comparisons.

Results: Antibiotic use within 48 hours of diagnosis was found in 23 cases (25%) and 33 controls (9%) (odds ratio, 4.15; 95% confidence interval, 2.17-7.92; attributable risk, 18.7%). Antibiotic use among US children according to NHANES III was 10.7%. In cases, the beta-lactam class accounted for 78% of all medications used. Cephalosporin use was associated with more than a 20-fold increased risk of intussusception.

Conclusion: An association between antibiotic drug use and intussusception was identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alabama / epidemiology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intussusception / chemically induced*
  • Intussusception / epidemiology
  • Male


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents