Gestational age at birth and risk of allergic rhinitis in young adulthood

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24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Previous studies of the association between gestational age or birth weight and allergic rhinitis in later life have had various limitations, including the inability to estimate risk among subjects born extremely preterm or to examine specific contributions of gestational age and fetal growth. Objective: We sought to determine whether gestational age at birth independent of fetal growth is associated with allergic rhinitis medication prescription in a national cohort of young adults. Methods: We conducted a national cohort study of 630,090 infants born in Sweden from 1973 through 1979 including 27,953 born preterm (<37 weeks) and followed for prescription of nasal corticosteroids and oral antihistamines in 2005-2009 (age, 25.5-37.0 years). Medication data were obtained from all outpatient and inpatient pharmacies throughout Sweden. Results: The overall prevalence of nasal corticosteroid and oral antihistamine prescription was 16.3% and 16.8%, respectively, which is similar to the reported prevalence of allergic rhinitis in this population. Low gestational age at birth was associated with a decreased risk of nasal corticosteroid and oral antihistamine prescription in young adulthood after adjusting for fetal growth and other potential confounders. For subjects born extremely preterm (23-28 weeks), adjusted odds ratios were 0.70 (95% CI, 0.51-0.96) for nasal corticosteroid prescription and 0.45 (95% CI, 0.27-0.76) for both nasal corticosteroid and oral antihistamine prescription relative to those born at full term. Conclusion: These findings suggest that low gestational age at birth independent of fetal growth is associated with a decreased risk of allergic rhinitis in young adulthood, possibly because of a protective effect of earlier exposure to pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173-1179
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Volume127
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Antiallergic agents
  • gestational age
  • perennial allergic
  • premature birth
  • seasonal allergic rhinitis

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