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UK Study Ties Birth Defects to Prescription Antibiotics

A study out of the United Kingdom shows that women prescribed certain antibiotics were much more likely to have children with major birth defects. This study has confirmed what many doctors have already suspected—that these antibiotics, if given in the first trimester, can lead to devastating consequences.

If you have delivered a baby with birth defects, please contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein today. One of our medical malpractice lawyers will look into your case and discuss whether compensation is available.

Macrolide Class of Antibiotics are Risky

The study compared the outcomes of mothers who were prescribed penicillin versus those prescribed one of the macrolide class, in particular the antibiotics azithromycin, erythromycin, and clarithromycin. Mothers who took macrolides were 55% more likely to have a child with a major birth defect than those who took penicillin.

Doctors have already tied this class of antibiotics to an increase in miscarriages, so they should not be prescribed in many situations. However, for mothers who are allergic to penicillin, the macrolides are common substitutes to treat bacterial infections. For example, many mothers are prescribed antibiotics to treat uterine infections.

The study looked at over 100,000 children who were born from 1990 to 2016. In aggregate, 186 children had major birth defects when their mothers were prescribed macrolides at any point in the pregnancy, which worked out to a rate of 28 major defects for every 1,000 children.

Far more women were prescribed penicillin, so there were more children with major defects. However, the rate was much lower—only 18 per 1,000.

First Trimester Use Is Especially Dangerous

When a mother was prescribed macrolides in the first trimester, there was an increased risk of cardiovascular malformations in their children. These are very serious defects that pose a threat to a child’s health. Other complications included an increased risk for genital malformations.

Of course, prescribing antibiotics is sometimes unavoidable. If a mother leaves a uterine infection untreated, then her baby is at an elevated risk of injury or even miscarriage. However, doctors should prescribe penicillin unless there is a confirmed allergy to it.

Were You Prescribed Antibiotics?

Our Miami medical malpractice attorneys have brought many claims for birth defects that were avoidable. Unfortunately, some negligent doctors prescribe medications that they should not, causing major deformities to develop.

If you suspect that your child’s birth defect could have been avoided, please contact us right away. An attorney with our firm will be happy to meet for a free consultation if you call 305-371-2692.