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For more information about the organization of teratology information specialists
For more information about the Organization of Teratology Information
Specialists or to find a service in your area, call (866) 626-6847 or visit
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Tetracycline and Pregnancy
This sheet talks about the risks that exposure to tetracycline can have during pregnancy. With each pregnancy,
all women have a 3% to 5% chance of having a baby with a birth defect. This information should not take the
place of medical care and advice from your health care provider.
What is tetracycline?
calcification (hardening) of the teeth, which
starts at about four months. This problem
treat conditions including acne and respiratory
appears to be only cosmetic, and does not
infections. It belongs to a group of antibiotics
appear to affect the development of the enamel
that includes minocycline, oxytetracycline,
or the chance of getting cavities. We do not
doxycycline, and other related antibiotics. In
know what percentage of exposed babies will
general, the concerns stated in this fact sheet
have discoloration of the teeth. For this reason,
the use of tetracycline should be avoided after
antibiotics. Tetracycline is usually taken orally
four months of pregnancy unless there is a
special condition requiring the doctor to
I am taking tetracycline during the first month
of my pregnancy. Is there a risk for birth
I have heard that tetracycline also affects the
bones of developing babies, in addition to the
teeth. Is this true?
of pregnancies when women took tetracycline
during the first trimester (the first 12 weeks),
calcification (hardening) of the bones and teeth,
which is the period when all the body organs
and it also appears to cause reduced growth of
are forming. These studies have not shown an
some bones while the baby is being exposed to
increased risk for major birth defects in
children exposed to tetracycline in the first
discoloration is permanent, the bone growth
seems to return to normal after the tetracycline
minor birth defects such as an inguinal hernia,
but the number of reports is too small to be sure
I am 14 weeks pregnant and I am taking
this risk exists. Once you know that you are
tetracycline. If I stop taking it now, how long
pregnant, it is a good idea to talk to your health
will tetracycline stay in my body?
care provider about continuing the use of
It takes less than 5 days for tetracycline
to be cleared from the body of most people. If
you stop taking the medication now, your baby
will not be exposed to tetracycline after one
Is there a risk for other problems if I take
week. As with any medication, you should
tetracycline at any time during pregnancy?
speak with your health care provider before you
fourth month of pregnancy, there is a risk for
discoloration (graying) of the "baby" teeth. The
discoloration of the baby teeth is due to
What if I am taking one of the other
What if the father of the baby takes
minocycline, oxytetracycline, or doxycycline
instead of tetracycline? Does that still put my
suggest that use of tetracycline by the father
baby at risk?
would negatively affect the sperm or increase
the risk for birth defects. For more information
tetracycline, it is possible that they could also
about a father’s exposures and pregnancy,
affect a baby's teeth and bones in the same way
if taken in the second and third trimesters of
pregnancy. There are some reports of babies
exposures, and for that reason, it is best to use
Copyright by OTIS.
I am pregnant and I often get upper
respiratory infections for which my doctor
prescribes tetracycline. If I get one of these
Briggs GG, et al. 1998. Drugs in Pregnancy and
infections after I am five months pregnant,
Lactation. Fifth Edition. Baltimore, MD: Williams &
what should I do?
Committee on Drugs, American Academy of Pediatrics
consider a different medication to treat your
2001. The transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human breast milk. Pediatrics. 108:776-789.
Egerman, et al. 1992. The tetracyclines. Obstet Gynecol
I am breastfeeding and thinking about taking
tetracycline. Can it still affect my baby?
Genot MT, et al. 1970. Effect of administration of tetracycline on teeth. J Oral Med. 25:75-79.
to harden until one year of age. Therefore, if a
baby is exposed to tetracycline in breast milk,
Kline, et al. 1964. Transplacental effect of tetracycline
theoretically it could cause tooth discoloration
and delayed bone growth. Yet, since only very
low levels of tetracycline enter into the breast
Kutscher, et al. 1966. Discoloration of deciduous teeth induced by administration of tetracycline antepartum.
The WHO Working Group, Bennet, PN (ed). 1988.
has rated tetracycline as usually compatible
Drugs and Human Lactation. New York: Elsevier.
with breastfeeding. Also, the WHO Working
Gilman AG, et al. (Eds). 1985. Goodman and Gilman's
Group on Human Lactation states that when the
The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. Seventh
antibiotic is used for seven to 10 days while
nursing, the risk to the infant appears to be low.
Other types of antibiotics may be preferable for
O'Rahilly R and Mueller F. 1992. Human Embryology &
long term use while breastfeeding. If you have
any concerns about breastfeeding while taking
these types of antibiotics, talk to your health
If you have questions about the information on
this fact sheet or other exposures during
pregnancy, call OTIS at 1-866-626-6847.
10th EHA Congress Third Meeting of the EHA Working Group on Thrombocytopenias Friday, 3 June 2005 18:00 – 20:00 Stockholm International Fairs 10th EHA Congress Third Meeting of the EHA Working Group on Thrombocytopenias Friday, 3 June 2005 18:00 – 20:00 Stockholm International Fairs Title of the presentation - Introduction and presentatio
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