Preconception exposure to over-the-counter medications and antibiotics and the risk of childhood asthma in Lebanon: A cross-sectional study

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Diana Malaeb
Souheil Hallit
Hala Sacre
Clara Rahme
Bassem Malaeb
Rabih Hallit
Pascale Salameh


asthma, breastfeeding, children, drugs, paracetamol, pregnancy, proton pump inhibitors


Objective: The aim of this study was to elucidate the relationship between the mother’s use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications during pregnancy and asthma in Lebanese children.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on Lebanese students in both public and private schools, between January and September 2017, involving 1000 children aged between 4 and 17 years.

Results: The intake of any medication as an independent variable throughout pregnancy reveals that being in a public school compared to a private one (Beta = 0.344) and breastfeed-ing (Beta = 0.51) were highly associated with lower odds of asthma, while having a positive family of allergic rhinitis (Beta = 2.129) and the intake of any medication during pregnancy (Beta = 7.052) were highly associated with higher odds of asthma.
A second logistic regression, taking as the dependent variable asthmatic versus healthy children and taking each OTC drug as an independent variable, showed that taking paracetamol once per week during pregnancy (Beta = 4.66) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) once per month (Beta = 3.498) compared to no intake were significantly correlated with higher probability of asthma.
Conclusion: Our findings showed that the intake of paracetamol, vitamin C, and PPIs during pregnancy is strongly correlated with asthma in the offspring. Since these factors are avoid-able, it is necessary to raise awareness among healthcare professionals to reduce the prevalence of asthma in children.

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