Levaquin and Pregnancy

In animal studies on Levaquin (levofloxacin) and pregnancy, the medication increased the risk of low fetal weight and fetal death when it was given in high doses to pregnant rats. Due to these potential risks, Levaquin should be avoided if other, more suitable antibiotics are available. If you are taking Levaquin and pregnancy occurs, contact your healthcare provider to discuss your options.

An Overview of Using Levaquin During Pregnancy

Levaquin® (levofloxacin) is a prescription antibiotic. At this time, it is not clear if Levaquin is safe for use during pregnancy. The manufacturer recommends that pregnant women take Levaquin only if the potential benefits outweigh the possible risks to the fetus.

Levaquin and 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. Also, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
When large doses of Levaquin were given to pregnant rats and rabbits, the medication did not cause birth defects. However, extremely large doses given to pregnant rats increased the risk of low fetal weight and fetal death. Levaquin has not been studied in pregnant women. Other medications closely related to Levaquin have been reported to cause problems (various different birth defects) in humans, but it is not clear if these problems were actually due to the drugs or were merely a coincidence (a certain percentage of all pregnancies will result in birth defects, regardless of exposure to any medication).
A pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child. If other, more suitable antibiotics are available (and are likely to be effective for treating a particular infection), Levaquin should be avoided. However, if Levaquin appears to be necessary to treat an infection, the benefits may outweigh the potential risks.
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