CNN  — 

Antibiotics commonly prescribed to babies may lead to an increased risk of allergies later in childhood, possibly because the medications can affect an infant’s gut bacteria, according to a new research paper.

The research was published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics on Friday. It found that infants who were given antibiotics – penicillin, cephalosporin, sulfonamide or macrolide – had a greater chance of developing allergies such as food allergies, asthma or dermatitis.

While the paper found a link between antibiotics and allergic disease, more research is needed to determine a causal relationship.

“I was surprised to see an association of all classes of antibiotics with the later development of allergic disease,” said Dr. Cade Nylund, a pediatrician and pediatric gastroenterologist at the Uniformed Services University in Maryland, who was an author of the new research.

“We have demonstrated that not only are antibiotics associated with an increased risk of allergic disease but that there is an increased risk associated with the prescription of multiple classes of antibiotics,” he said. “Limiting unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for viral infections like the common cold may be a step towards preventing the development of allergic disease.”