According to study presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2022, older adults who routinely take antibiotics are more likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The research was not peer-reviewed or published.

Previous research from 2020 discovered a relationship between antibiotic use and the onset of IBD in young adults. Adam Faye, MD, an assistant professor of medicine and population health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City, led the study to see if a similar link might be discovered in older persons. Researchers examined the number of antibiotics prescribed, the timing of medicines, and the impact of individual antibiotic classes on the development of IBD in older patients using the Danish National Prescription Register from 2000 to 2018.

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Researchers discovered 10,773 new cases of ulcerative colitis and 3,825 new cases of Crohn’s disease during the 18-year study period, and antibiotic exposure increased this risk, indicating that environmental factors play a significant role in the development of inflammatory bowel disease in this population.

“When we think of the causes of IBD, we think of environmental and genetic variables.” “In essence, anything that is not genetically programmed is considered an environmental risk factor or exposure [including antibiotic use],” Dr. Faye continues. “There appears to be a larger genetic risk and consequently a family history of IBD in younger patients.” In older-onset IBD, family history of IBD is not as robust, implying a lower genetic risk and that environment plays a greater role in triggering IBD.”

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