In a recent debate concerning the use of antibiotic medication during pregnancy, two antibiotics were labeled safe for pregnancy. For some time now, researchers wanted to discover if a link could be established between antibiotic usage during pregnancy and birth defects in young infants.
The two antibiotics known as azithromycin and clarithromycin are commonly used as substitutes for penicillin in patients who have allergies. Further research into the matter reveals that the drugs can be safely taken during pregnancy as they pose no threat to both mother and child.
Both compounds belong to a group of antibiotics named macrolides. The activity of macrolides is derived from a macrolide ring, which is a large macro cyclic lactone ring (a cyclic portion of the lactone molecule). Antibiotics with macrolides are used to treat infection that are commonly caused by Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Bordetella pertussis). They are also employed in order to treat respiratory tract and soft-tissues infections.
In order to establish a link between antibiotic usage and birth defects, Doctor Anick Berard and her team from the University of Montreal used data from the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort. During a period of ten year, between 1998 and 2008, her team recorded and studied approximately 135869 cases.
Statistics have shown that only 1.7 percent of pregnant women underwent a treatment with macrolides during the 1st trimester of pregnancy. In addition, among the studied cases, scientists have uncovered that 686 of them used clarithromycin and in 734 other case erythromycin was employed during pregnancy. Moreover, the numbers point out that only 914 of them took azithromycin and the rest of 9106 went ahead with the traditional penicillin.
Unfortunately, children with major congenital malformations were born in approximately 10 percent of the studied cases, but scientists could not find any link between the antibiotic course and subsequent birth defects.
The study goes on, as scientist try to record and analyze more cases in order to see if macrolides are safer than penicillin. Scientists have yet to put their finger on the issue and the debate fires on. Still, lab studies and material gathered from hospitals suggest that the outcome of a pregnancy is not usually influenced by an antibiotic course.
A little reminder, the two antibiotics were labeled safe for pregnancy because they could easily work as substitutes for high-risk drugs such as penicillin.
Researchers also added that they have a lot more cases to study in order to be able to validate the global outcome of the paper’s thesis.
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