Some Antibiotics Linked To Miscarriage In Early Pregnancy

MONTREAL, Canada, Wednesday May 10, 2017 – Many classes of antibiotics are associated with an increased risk of miscarriage when used in early pregnancy, according to a Canadian study published last week.

Researchers said that macrolides, quinolones, tetracyclines, sulfonamides and metronidazole were related to higher rates of pregnancy loss.

Macrolides are often prescribed when penicillin cannot be used to fight streptococcal and pneumococcal infections. Suflonamides treat urinary tract infections, ear infections, bronchitis and eye infections. Metronidazole is used on infections of the vagina, stomach, skin, joints and respiratory tract.

Doctors do not routinely prescribe tetracyclines during pregnancy because of concerns over birth defects, and quinolones are commonly avoided as well.

A greater chance of pregnancy loss was not seen with the most frequently used antibiotics, including penicillin, however.

Nitrofurantoin, which is often used to treat urinary tract infections, and erythromycin, which is prescribed for respiratory and skin infections as well as chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease and syphilis – were also not linked to a higher risk of miscarriage.

Led by Dr Anick Bérard, a member of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal, the researchers looked at data from the medical records of women in the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort between 1998 and 2009. Participants ranged in age from 15 to 45 years old and were covered under Quebec’s drug insurance plan.

In the study, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Bérard’s team compared pregnancy outcomes when different types of antibiotics were prescribed in early pregnancy.

The researchers found 8,702 cases of diagnosed spontaneous abortions, occurring on average at 14 weeks of pregnancy. The team compared these with 87,020 pregnancies in which a miscarriage did not occur.

Among the women who suffered a miscarriage, 16.4 percent had taken antibiotics during early pregnancy, compared with 12.6 percent who had not.

When a woman does not take antibiotics during pregnancy, her risk of a miscarriage is usually about 6 percent to 7 percent.

In the study, women who took certain antibiotics in early pregnancy had an increased risk of 9 percent to 10 percent.

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