Some antibiotics linked to increased risk of several birth defects

pills21An exploratory study has found that two types of antibiotics taken during pregnancy are linked to an increased risk of several birth defects. 

The two types of antibiotics are:

Nitrofurantoins, including Macrobid and Furadantin 

* Sulfonamides (also known as sulfa drugs), including Bactrim 

Penicillins appear to be the safest of the drugs studied.

Antiobiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections. Bacterial infections can be dangerous to the fetus if untreated. So antibiotic treatment is sometimes appropriate for pregnant women.

If a pregnant woman needs to take an antibiotic, she should talk about the pro’s and con’s of the various choices with her health care provider.

It is too early to say if the antibiotics linked to birth defects in the study are the cause of the defects. Something else may be the cause. Researchers are continuing to study the question.

One of the authors of the study told U.S. News & World Report, “The most important message is that most commonly used antibiotics do not seem to be associated with the birth defects we studied.”

The study was published in the November issue of the medical journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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2 Responses to “Some antibiotics linked to increased risk of several birth defects”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    Wow that’s scary. I wish I knew that when I was pregnant. I had persistant bladder infections during pregnancy and took at least 3 or 4 rounds of Macrobid. Knock on wood my daughter is fine. Do you happen to know what birth defects these antibiotics might be linked to?

  2. Pam Says:

    So glad to hear your daughter is doing well. Urinary tract infections are common in pregnancy, and there are several drugs that can be used to treat them.

    In the study, nitrofurantoins, such as Macrobid, were linked to eye and heart defects, cleft lip and cleft palate. Just to reemphasize, we don’t know if the antibiotics in this study caused the defect; we need more research to verify the findings of this research and to learn more about the causes of the defects.

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