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Is Azithromycin Safe for Pregnancy: Azithromycin Side Effects, Uses, And More

Azithromycin is an antibiotic that treats specific bacterial infections. In the year 1991, this drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It is important to consult a doctor before you begin a course.


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Is Azithromycin Safe for Pregnancy: Azithromycin Side Effects, Uses, And More


There is no doubt that pregnancy is a beautiful feeling. However, it is complicated too. During this period, women need to avoid certain foods, take immense care of their bodies and carefully watch the medicines they consume. The incorrect dose could very well lead to a miscarriage. Read further to find out whether one such medication- Azithromycin- is safe for pregnant females or not!

What is Azithromycin, And What does it Treat?

Azithromycin is an antibiotic that treats specific bacterial infections. In the year 1991, this drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Like most antibiotics, Azithromycin cannot treat all types of bacteria. Hence, it is all the more important to consult a doctor before you begin a course.

Is Azithromycin Safe For Pregnancy?

Pregnant mothers might contemplate taking Azithromycin in pregnancy. If necessary, then Azithromycin can be taken by expectant mothers under the advice of a doctor. First trial studies on animals did not find an increased risk of miscarriage or congenital disabilities on taking large doses of Azithromycin.

However, high-quality studies on a large number of pregnant women have not been conducted yet. This is why the prescription label on the packaging states that "Azithromycin should be used during pregnancy if needed."

Hence, if a pregnant woman falls sick due to a bacterial infection, she can take the medication if advised by her doctor.

Also read: Is breast leakage during pregnancy normal?

Azithromycin Use In Pregnancy

Doctors may prescribe Azithromycin in pregnancy to a woman for the treatment of acute bacterial infections. The usage of Azithromycin is usually clinically indicated for the following conditions:

  • Community-acquired pneumonia (an infection that inflames the lungs air sacs), caused by S. pneumonia, Chlamydia pneumonia, Haemophilus pneumonia.
  • Sinus infection due to Streptococcus pneumonia.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a disease in which chronic inflammation of the lungs causes obstructed airflow.
  • Skin infections related to Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes (bacterias).
  • Tonsillitis, an infection where there is inflammation of the tonsils.
  • Urethritis, an infection where there is inflammation of the urethra.
  • Cervicitis, an infection that results in inflammation of the end of the uterus.
  • A study in animals indicated that Azithromycin could inhibit Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced pregnancy loss. LPS is a compound that causes inflammation and triggers abortion and preterm births.

Should You Use Azithromycin During Pregnancy Third Trimester

Women can use Azithromycin during pregnancy in the third trimester. It has been suggested that exposure to Azithromycin during pregnancy is not associated with an increase in the rate of significant abnormalities in pregnant women.

Azithromycin belongs to the macrolide group of antibiotics. It has not been associated with an increased risk of malformation in animal studies. Most studies of women who took macrolides have not provided any evidence linking birth defects in babies to the use of the medication. However, it's important to note that only a few women have been tested for these results.

How To Use Azithromycin?

One can take Azithromycin during pregnancy orally with or without food. If you have an upset stomach, take the medication after eating. Take the entire dosage as directed by your doctor. It is essential to take Azithromycin for the duration prescribed to ensure its effectiveness. Usually, doctors recommend that you take Azithromycin once daily at the same time.

Don't stop taking the medication if you feel better, as doing this can allow bacteria to continue growing, resulting in a return of the infection. Consult your doctor if your symptoms worsen. Set a reminder to ensure that you remember to take Azithromycin daily.

Antacids often contain aluminium or magnesium and may decrease the absorption of Azithromycin. If you are on an antacid, have it at least 2 hours before or after having Azithromycin.

Azithromycin Side Effects

We have listed the most crucial azithromycin effects below. However, this might not be a comprehensive list. Consult your doctor to learn more.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Acid reflux
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Rashes
  • Chest pain
  • Dry skin

Azithromycin Precautions

  • Women with a history of allergy to macrolides or ketolides should not take the medication.
  • Women with a previous condition of myasthenia gravis that causes muscle weakness might face worsening symptoms or breathing problems after taking Azithromycin.
  • One cannot prescribe this medication to treat pneumonia if a woman has bacteremia, cystic fibrosis or an underlying immune system issue.
  • Women should not rely on Azithromycin to treat syphilis.
  • If a woman suffers from an irregular heartbeat or existing kidney and liver disease, they should consult a doctor before taking this medication.
  • Azithromycin can be detected in breast milk and may remain for 48 hours after a woman's last dose. Generally, it is safe to use Azithromycin when breastfeeding, but the drug may cause diarrhoea, vomiting or a rash in babies.

Are Drugs Safe During Pregnancy?

Some drugs are considered safe to consume during pregnancy. However, there are a few medicines whose effects on an unborn child have not yet been studied. Some medications are harmful to the baby when taken during the first few months of pregnancy.

A few drugs, like tetracycline, can be absorbed by an unborn child, and it can cause side effects. Hence, it is essential to consult a doctor before taking medication while pregnant. Most doctors think that using Azithromycin is safe in pregnancy.

As stated above, human studies have not linked miscarriage or birth defects to the usage of the medication. However, since studies have been conducted on small groups, the data is not entirely conclusive. Hence, always take Azithromycin during pregnancy only if needed and directed by your doctor.

Also read: Amla during pregnancy

In a Nutshell, Should You Use Azithromycin in Pregnancy?

Azithromycin is safe to use during pregnancy in most medical expert opinions. Complications during pregnancy, miscarriage, and potential harm to the fetus have not been linked to using this medicine. However, only commence an Azithromycin course if your doctor has recommended it. This is because, like all drugs, Azythhromycin also has side effects that could negatively affect certain pregnant women's body conditions.

References

Moumita Sarkar, Cindy Woodland (2006) Pregnancy outcome following gestational exposure to Azithromycin (National Library of Medicine) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16734900/

Ayse Er (2013) Azithromycin Prevents Pregnancy Loss: Reducing the Level of Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha and Raising the Level of Interleukin-10 in Rats" (Mediators of Inflammation) https://www.hindawi.com/journals/mi/2013/928137/

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