Common antibiotic linked to birth defects, study finds

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Specifically, the risk of cardiac malformations in the unborn baby was higher

Baby, newborn, infant

CNN Newsource

(CNN Newsource) – A common antibiotic has been linked to a higher risk of birth defects, according to a new study.

A new study published in the medical journal BMJ suggests women who were prescribed macrolides during the first three months of pregnancy had an increased risk of birth defects compared to those who were prescribed penicillin.

Macrolides are used to treat infections and most often prescribed when a patient is allergic to penicillin.

The study analyzed data from more than 104,600 children born in the UK between 1990 and 2016. Their mothers were either prescribed penicillin or macrolides.

The study found prescribing macrolides — which include erythromycin, clarithromycin and azithromycin — to pregnant women during the first trimester increased the risk of major malformations to 28 of 1,000 births compared to 18 per 1,000 births with penicillin.

Specifically, the risk of cardiac malformations was higher.

The study did not find a link between macrolides and neurodevelopmental disorders.

There was also no associated risk between birth defects and macrolides prescribed before conception.

An author of the study said based on the findings, pregnant women and their doctors should find an alternative antibiotic depending on the type of infection.

A study author also warned of the risks of not taking antibiotics at all, saying infection itself can be really damaging to the unborn baby as well.

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