I had an interesting tweet today from Dr. Nathan Wei referring me to a video on youtube. You can see it here. He explains that a recent study has shown that people who frequently take antibiotics are more likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease, of which one type is Crohns.
Damn! I blogged only 2 weeks ago about the link between Crohns and psoriasis, with them both being caused by a similar immune response and both also having successful treatment via TNF inhibitors. I’ve wondered about the risk to PsA warriors of developing Crohns due to this link. Now it seems that frequent antibiotic use compounds that risk!
Naturally those of us on TNF inhibitors have a compromised immune system already. Therefore at the slightest hint of getting sick our doctors typically take the conservative approach and give us antibiotics. I’ve had lots of courses of antibiotics over the last decade. Now, according to the study:
Once the researchers took other factors into account, they found that people prescribed lots of antibiotics were as much as 50 percent more likely to get Crohn’s disease within two to five years.
Argh! Wish someone had told me earlier. My bowels are already pretty unstable, and now I’m afraid that I could have really developed IBD.
For those of you without psoriasis or PsA, note that there is a high risk for anyone to develop IBD through taking frequent antibiotics. So if you are sick and your doctor prescribes antibiotics – make sure that they really believe you have a bacterial infection. Here in Asia doctors are notorious for giving out antibiotics to anyone who is feeling unwell, in order to give the patients “something tangible” (i.e. pills) in exchange for the doctor’s fee. Here, unless patients head home with a bag of multi-colored pills they will often more than not believe that the doctor cheated them.