Antibiotic exposure is associated with decreased risk of psychiatric disorders


Objective: This study sought to investigate the relationship between antibiotic exposure and subsequent risk of psychiatric disorders. Methods: This retrospective cohort study used a national database of 69 million patients from 54 large healthcare organizations. We identified a cohort of 20,214 (42.5% male; 57.9 ± 15.1 years old [mean ± SD]) adults without prior neuropsychiatric diagnoses who received antibiotics during hospitalization. Matched controls included 41,555 (39.6% male; 57.3 ± 15.5 years old) hospitalized adults without antibiotic exposure. The two cohorts were balanced for potential confounders, including demographics and variables with potential to affect: the microbiome, mental health, medical comorbidity, and overall health status. Data were stratified by age and by sex, and outcome measures were assessed starting 6 months after hospital discharge. Results: Antibiotic exposure was consistently associated with a significant decrease in the risk of novel mood disorders and anxiety and stressor-related disorders in: men (mood (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.77, 0.91), anxiety (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.82, 0.95), women (mood (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.89,1.00), anxiety (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.88, 0.98), those who are 26–49 years old (mood (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.80, 0.94), anxiety (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.84, 0.97)), and in those ≥50 years old (mood (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.86, 0.97), anxiety (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.87, 0.97). Risk of intentional harm and suicidality was decreased in men (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.55, 0.98) and in those ≥50 years old (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.49, 0.92). Risk of psychotic disorders was also decreased in subjects ≥50 years old (OR 0.83, 95 CI: 0.69, 0.99). Conclusion: Use of antibiotics in the inpatient setting is associated with protective effects against multiple psychiatric outcomes in an age- and sex-dependent manner.



risk, antibiotic, psychosis, retrospective, suicidality, mood disorders, anxiety, sex