By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – According to a new study in JAMA Pediatrics, babies who are given antacids like Zantac and Pepcid are more likely to develop childhood allergies.

Researchers looked at the health records of nearly 800,000 children and found that those had been treated with antacids were at double the risk of developing a food allergy. Babies treated with antibiotics also had a higher risk of allergy and asthma.

The study doesn’t prove that antacids and antibiotics cause allergies but it certainly raises some questions.

Many babies are prescribed antacids for reflux and babies are often given antibiotics for a variety of reasons.

One concern is that these medications may alter gut bacteria in infants which play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system. If the bacteria are changed in some way, the immune system may overreact to foods and other harmless antigens.

Dr. Mallika Marshall