Are Fluoroquinolones Safe In Pregnancy

Are Fluoroquinolones Safe In Pregnancy?

Fluoroquinolones are a class of antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections. Some women may be prescribed a fluoroquinolone antibiotic during pregnancy for various reasons; however, it is important to keep in mind that these medications can have potential risks that should be discussed with your doctor prior to taking them.

What Are Fluoroquinolones?

Fluoroquinolones are a group of antibiotics that have been used since the 1980s to treat a variety of bacterial infections. Examples include levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, and ofloxacin. They are available as pills, tablets, and injectable solutions.

Risks Of Fluoroquinolones During Pregnancy

Fluoroquinolones may be harmful to an unborn baby. There is some evidence that these antibiotics can cross the placenta, although the exact extent of this transfer is still being studied. It is important to discuss the potential risks with your doctor before taking fluoroquinolones during pregnancy, as the risks may vary depending on the type of antibiotic taken, the duration of the treatment, and the age of the fetus.

Possible Risks

  • Fetal Arrhythmia: There may be an increased risk of fetal arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart rhythm that can cause rapid or irregular heart rate. This risk is most pronounced near the third trimester, and the possible effects of arrhythmia may include low fetal heart rate, breathing or feeding problems, or even stillbirth.

  • Birth Defects: Some studies have suggested that there may be a higher risk of birth defects when taking fluoroquinolones during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, these studies are of limited quality and there is more conclusive evidence to indicate that the risk of birth defects is low.
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension: There may be an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn if the mother took a fluoroquinolone in the last trimester of pregnancy. This is a serious condition that affects the baby’s breathing and can be fatal if not treated quickly.


It is important to speak to your doctor if you are considering taking a fluoroquinolone during pregnancy. While the potential risks may be small, any drug taken during pregnancy carries a risk and should be discussed with your health care provider. They will be able to assess your individual risk factors and determine if fluoroquinolones are an appropriate treatment for your condition.

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