Heartburn pills in pregnancy may trigger childhood asthma

London, Jan 10 (IANS) Mothers who take heartburn medication during pregnancy may see an increased risk of asthma in babies as they grow, suggests a research.

A review of studies has found that babies whose mothers had been prescribed with medicines to treat acid reflux during pregnancy were more likely to be treated for asthma in childhood.

“Our study reports an association between the onset of asthma in children and their mothers’ use of acid-suppressing medication during pregnancy,” said Professor Aziz Sheikh, Co-director, Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, University of Edinburgh.

Earlier, the scientists had suggested that use of these medicines may increase the risk of allergies in the unborn baby through impacting on the immune system but studies to investigate a link have been inconclusive.

The researchers, led by the Universities of Edinburgh and Tampere in Finland, reviewed eight previous studies involving more than 1.3 million children.

The research had examined healthcare registries and prescription databases linking information about both mothers and children.

The team found that babies born to mothers who had been prescribed acid-blocking drugs during pregnancy were at least one third more likely to have visited a doctor for symptoms of asthma.

“The study points us towards something that needs further investigation which is why we need to see more research carried out into the causes of asthma,” added Samantha Walker, Director of Policy and Research at Asthma UK.

However, the experts say the potential link is not conclusive and mothers-to-be should follow the existing guidelines and consult with a doctor or nurse if symptoms continue.

“The association could be caused by a separate factor and that further research is needed to determine whether the medicines affect the health of children,” the researchers noted in the study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.