Montreal, Canada – A recent study published in the Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety journal has discovered that azithromycin and clarithromycin, two of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics, can be used safely by pregnant women.

A debate has existed between biologists and physicians about the possible threats of antibiotics in pregnant mothers and their unborn babies.

Azithromycin and clarithromycin, two of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics, can now be used safely by pregnant women. Credit:

The research lead by investigators of the University of Montreal studied a group of antibiotics called macrolide antibiotics. This study was conducted in order to determine if the infection or the antibiotic itself had damages on the unborn child or the mother and have any adverse consequences such as birth defects and congenital malformations. They studied the molecular structure of macrocyclic lactone ring.

Dr. Anick Bérard, a researcher at the of the University of Montreal, said, “With penicillin, macrolides are amongst the most used medications in the general population and in pregnancy. However, debate remained on whether it is the infections or, in fact, the macrolides used to treat them that put women and their unborn child at greater risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including birth defects,” as reported by the journal Web MD.

Data from approximately 135,000 pregnancies between 1998 and 2008 was taken from Quebec Pregnancy Cohort and investigated for the study. Researchers analyzed details from both the mother and the newborn. About 1.7% of the pregnancies involved in the study had been exposed to macrolides during their first trimester which included about 900 to azithromycin, 734 to erythromycin, 686 to clarithromycin, and 9106 to penicillin.

A total of 9.8% of the pregnancies resulted in major congenital malformation on the fetuses, but, since meaningful association was found linked to the antibiotics.

Investigators said that in order to determine the effects of less common antibiotics further studies have to be made.

Source: UPI