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Macrolide antibiotics in pregnancy are linked with birth defects, study suggests

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 19 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m659

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Associations between macrolide antibiotics prescribing during pregnancy and adverse child outcomes in the UK

  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Children of mothers who took macrolide antibiotics during early pregnancy have shown an increased risk of major birth defects, particularly heart defects, than children of mothers who took penicillin, in a study published in The BMJ.1

Macrolide antibiotics (including erythromycin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin) are used to treat common bacterial infections and are considered alternatives for patients with penicillin allergy. Researchers from Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health said that these antibiotics should be “used with caution during pregnancy and, if possible, feasible alternative antibiotics should be prescribed until further research is available.”

However, Pat O’Brien, vice president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said …

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