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Acid-suppressant medications in infants with bronchiolitis raises later allergy risk



Infants who are hospitalized for severe bronchiolitis and receive acid-suppressant medications may be at risk of developing allergic disease by age 3 years, according to recent research released as an abstract for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Annual Meeting.

The AAAAI canceled their annual meeting and provided abstracts and access to presenters for press coverage

“Among children with a history of severe bronchiolitis during infancy, exposure to acid-suppressant medications during infancy further increases the risk of developing recurrent wheeze by age 3 years,” Lacey B. Robinson, MD, of the division of rheumatology, allergy, and immunology in the department of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said in an interview.

Bronchiolitis is a risk factor in infants for developing conditions such as recurrent wheeze and childhood asthma in early childhood. Acid-suppressant medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) may further increase the risk of allergic disease. One study by Mitre et al. published in JAMA Pediatrics showed use of acid-suppressant medications in infants up to 6 months raised the risk of allergic disease (JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172[6]:e180315). Some studies suggest between 30% and 50% of infants diagnosed with bronchiolitis requiring hospitalization will develop asthma by age 5 years (J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2017 Jan - Feb;5[1]:92-6).

“Children with severe bronchiolitis during infancy are at a high risk of developing recurrent wheeze and subsequent asthma. There is limited evidence to suggest that exposure to acid suppressant medications [such as proton pump inhibitors and histamine-2 receptor antagonists] prenatally and during early childhood increases the risk of childhood asthma,” Dr. Robinson said. “It is not known if exposure to acid suppressant medications during infancy further increases the risk of developing recurrent wheeze among high-risk children, such as in those with a history of severe bronchiolitis during infancy.”

Dr. Robinson and colleagues performed a multicenter, prospective cohort study of 921 infants who were hospitalized for severe bronchiolitis between 2011 and 2014. The investigators reviewed the medical records of the infants for acid suppressant medication use, as well as parent report of acid suppressant medication use, during an infant’s first 12 months. Overall, 879 children were analyzed after excluding for patients who developed recurrent wheeze prior to receiving acid suppressant medications, as well as patients with incomplete data. The investigators used the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR-3) to define recurrent wheeze. A Cox-proportional hazard model was used to analyze the time to event, which was stratified by age and adjusted for confounders.

Infants with a history of severe bronchiolitis were at greater risk of developing recurrent wheeze by age 3 years after being exposed to acid-suppressant medications, compared with infants who were not exposed, Dr. Robinson said. Of the 879 infants in the final analysis, 159 (18%) received acid-suppressant medications, and 68 of 159 patients (43%) went on to develop recurrent wheeze, compared with 206 of 720 infants (29%) who were not exposed (unadjusted hazard ratio, 1.63; 95% confidence interval, 1.24-2.14).

After adjustment for confounders such as gender, race and ethnicity; gestational age; delivery type; severity of bronchiolitis; respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection status; maternal atopy; use of acid-suppressant medications during pregnancy; median household income; and insurance status, the association between recurrent wheeze and acid-suppressant medication use during infancy remained (adjusted HR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.15-2.07).

“More research is needed on this important topic including studies in other populations,” such as in healthy children, Dr. Robinson said. “We encourage future research on this important and understudied topic, including further research on the potential underlying mechanisms of this association.”

Dr. Robinson reported no relevant financial disclosures.

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