#Rheumatoid #arthritis is a long-term autoimmune condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the #joints. A combination of genetic and environmental factors are suspected to be the cause for rheumatoid arthritis (#RA) including hormonal changes, exposure to dust and other allergens as well as some bacterial and viral infections. A team of researchers from Keele University, Haywood Academic Rheumatology Centre and Quadram Institute Bioscience have been studying the link between taking #antibiotics and going on to develop RA.
The research was conducted by looking at records from the primary care Clinical Practice Research Datalink and reviewed cases of people diagnosed with RA between 1995 and 2017. 22,677 cases of RA were identified, and matched to 90,013 controls, those people were then clinically followed for an average of 10 years before diagnosis. On analysing the data, researchers found that the odds of developing RA were 60% higher in those exposed to antibiotics than those not exposed.
All classes of antibiotics increased the likelihood of developing RA, with bactericidal antibiotics carrying a higher risk than bacteriostatic (45% vs. 31%). The odds of being diagnosed with RA differed between the amount of antibiotics received, one course led to 40% higher odds than the control and two courses 66%, with three or more courses increasing the odds further. Those people who took antibiotics as a result of an upper respiratory tract infection (#URTI) had a stronger association with developing RA, yet there was no identified link with untreated cases, adding strength to the belief that the antibiotics caused the raise in risk. The research has further highlighted the complexity of the microbiome and how antibiotics can impact upon a community of micro-organisms increasing the risk of autoimmune diseases.