Objectives: The development of commensal flora in infants has been shown to be sensitive to antibiotic use. Altered intestinal flora is thought to contribute to the etiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), an idiopathic chronic condition. We aimed to determine if early use of antibiotics was associated with the development of IBD in childhood.
Methods: Nested case-control analysis of the population-based University of Manitoba Inflammatory Bowel Disease Epidemiologic Database was carried out. IBD status was determined from a validated administrative database definition. A total of 36 subjects diagnosed between 1996 and 2008 were matched to 360 controls, on the basis of age, sex, and geographic region. Antibiotic data were drawn from the Manitoba Drug Program Information Network, a comprehensive population-based database of all prescription drugs for all Manitobans dating back to 1995. Antibiotic use in the first year of life was compared between IBD cases and controls.
Results: The mean age at IBD diagnosis was 8.4 years. Twenty-one cases (58%) had one or more antibiotic dispensations in their first year of life compared with 39% of controls. Crohn's disease was diagnosed in 75% of IBD cases. Those receiving one or more dispensations of antibiotics were at 2.9 times the odds (95% confidence interval: 1.2, 7.0) of being an IBD case.
Conclusions: Subjects diagnosed with IBD in childhood are more likely to have used antibiotics in their first year of life.