Erythromycin and similar antibiotics linked to increased risk of birth defects, study says

Pre-natal ultrasound scan of baby


Women taking the common antibiotics like erythromycin and similars during the first trimester of their pregnancy are at greater risk of seeing their child born with birth defects, according to new research.


The study, published on Wednesday (19 Feb) in the medical journal BMJ, found an increased risk of birth defects in the children of women who were prescribed erythromycin and similars (macrolides) during the first three months of pregnancy, compared to mothers who were prescribed penicillin.


What are macrolide antibiotics?


Macrolide antibiotics are used to treat infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as urinary and skin conditions, plus sexually transmitted diseases. They are usually prescribed to patients who are allergic to penicillin. Examples of macrolides include; azithromycin, clarithromycin and erythromycin. 


Original report (Subscription may apply)


Published: Feb. 22, 2020




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