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Obesity Study: Long-term Effects of Antibiotics on Childhood Growth

Antibiotics are the most frequently prescribed medication for children. They are used during a period of heightened vulnerability for families: when children are ill, and parents are worried about their children's well-being. Deciding whether and which antibiotics to use is usually based on efficacy and short-term risks; e.g., some cause nausea, others diarrhea, and others a rash within a few days of administration. But what if some, but not all, antibiotics had long-term effects on children's growth and risk of obesity? Growing evidence suggests this may be the case. The availability of many years of electronic health record data, which contain both antibiotic exposure information and children's long-term growth data, coupled with harmonization of those data from disparate research networks to a common data model provide a unique opportunity for PCORnet: to conduct a long-term safety study on the comparative effects of alternative antibiotics given during the first two years of life on longer term growth and risk of obesity.


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