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When high doses of Cipro (ciprofloxacin) were given to pregnant rabbits, the drug was shown to increase the risk for miscarriages. Although no human studies have been done, there have been some reported cases of birth defects in infants whose mother took the drug while pregnant. The manufacturer of the medication recommends that this antibiotic only be used during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Can Pregnant Women Use Cipro?

Cipro® (ciprofloxacin) is a prescription medication used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. It is also used to prevent infections or worsening of infections after exposure to inhaled anthrax in adults and children.
At this time, it is not entirely known if this drug is safe for use during pregnancy. The manufacturer of Cipro recommends that pregnant women use it only if the potential benefits outweigh the possible risks to the fetus.

What Is Pregnancy Category C?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans, but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.
Medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
In animal studies, Cipro did not appear to cause birth defects or other problems in the offspring when given in high doses (up to six times the usual human oral dose) to pregnant mice and rats. However, it did appear to increase the risk for miscarriages when given to pregnant rabbits.
Cipro has not been studied in pregnant women. There have been reported cases of birth defects in infants whose mothers took Cipro during pregnancy; however, one single type of defect does not appear to stand out as occurring more often. Therefore, it is difficult to tell if Cipro actually caused the birth defects.
To date, the research seems to suggest that Cipro does not substantially increase the risk for major birth defects, but there is not enough information to say that Cipro is completely safe for use during pregnancy.
It is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child. If other, more suitable, antibiotics are not an option, and Cipro is necessary to treat an infection, the benefits of using the drug may outweigh the potential risks.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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