Minocycline and Pregnancy

In most cases, minocycline is not recommended for women who are expecting. When taken during pregnancy, minocycline has been known to cause tooth problems in the developing child. However, there are some situations in which the drug may be prescribed to a pregnant woman, such as when there are no safer drugs available for treating an infection.

Can I Take Minocycline When Pregnant?

Minocycline is a prescription antibiotic used to treat a wide range of infections. It is probably most commonly used as an acne treatment. In most situations, this medication is not appropriate for use during pregnancy due to the risk of problems such as tooth discoloration.
 
It is generally recommended that pregnant women take minocycline only if the potential benefits of the medication outweigh the possible risks to the fetus, such as might be the case with a serious infection. Notably, minocycline should not be used to treat acne in pregnant women, since the risks clearly outweigh the benefits.
 

Minocycline and Pregnancy Category D

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy.
 
Pregnancy Category D is given to medicines that have been shown to present a risk to the fetus in studies of pregnant women but that may still offer benefits that outweigh the risks the drug presents. A pregnancy Category D medicine can still be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the mother outweigh the possible risks to the unborn child.
 
There is some weak evidence that tetracycline medications like minocycline might increase the risk of birth defects, although it is not clear if a true risk exists.
 
If taken when the child's teeth are forming (during the second half of pregnancy through eight years of age), minocycline can cause permanent tooth discoloration. The discoloration usually starts off as bright yellow, but fades to a yellow/gray/brown color. Some cases of inadequate tooth enamel have also been reported. Similarly, it is thought that tetracyclines might adversely affect bone formation.
 
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD; Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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