Antibiotic overuse increases risks of bowel disease among elderly


eMediNexus    28 January 2023

A recent study published in the journal "Gut" suggested that persons over 40 may be at an increased risk of acquiring inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) if they take antibiotics often.


The study found 36,017 new cases of ulcerative colitis and 16,881 new cases of Crohns disease in Denmark reported between 2000 and 2018, after evaluating the medical records of more than six million Danish individuals aged 10 and older. It also stated that older people were at a higher risk.


Researchers found that the risk appeared to be cumulative, with each additional course raising the risk by 11%, 15%, and 14% across all age groups.


The study highlighted that those who received five or more courses of antibiotics were at the greatest risk. The risk was also increased by 69% among 10 to 40 age group, twice as much in people aged 40 to 60, and by 95% in people over 60. The risk is due to several factors, including the natural decline in gut microbiome diversity and resilience that comes with ageing and is accelerated by antibiotic usage. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, including nitroimidazoles and fluoroquinolones, which are typically used to treat gut infections, were linked to the highest risk of IBD.


The chairman of the Medanta Institute of Digestive and Hepatobiliary Sciences Dr. Randhir Sud, said that antibiotic overuse is a common practice in India. 90% of those who have diarrhoea, do not need antibiotics. Diarrhoea is a self-limiting disease, and maintaining hydration was sufficient to cure it. Similarly, most fevers and chest infections are frequently brought on by viral infections; giving antibiotics wont help in these situations. 


Hence he emphasized the best practice was to regulate antibiotic use by limiting their prescriptions which could help to control antibiotic resistance and lower the risk of IBD.


(Source: https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/frequent-antibiotics-use-can-cause-bowel-disease-among-those-above-40-years-study/97388348)

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