Antacids During Pregnancy Tied to Asthma in Children

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Using antacids during pregnancy is linked to asthma in offspring, a systematic review of research has found.

Researchers pooled data from eight observational studies and concluded that the risk of asthma in childhood increased by 34 percent when the mother used proton pump inhibitors and by 57 percent with the use of histamine-2 receptor antagonists. The study is in Pediatrics.

P.P.I.s and H2 blockers are considered safe and effective prescription drugs for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a common complication in pregnancy. They are also available over the counter.

No observational study can establish causation, and genetic or environmental factors could explain the association. Yet even after controlling for maternal asthma, use of other drugs during pregnancy, age of the mother at birth, smoking and other variables, the association persisted.

“Further prospective clinical observational studies are required to confirm these results before recommendations on the restriction of acid-suppressive medications during pregnancy can be given,” said the senior author, Dr. Huahao Shen, a professor at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China. But, he added, the information from this study “may help clinicians and parents to use caution when deciding whether to take acid-suppressing drugs during pregnancy because of the risk of asthma in offspring.”