Antibiotics Home > Rifadin and Pregnancy

Because Rifadin (rifampin) increased the risk for birth defects and miscarriages when given to pregnant animals, the drug's safety in pregnant women in unclear. However, animals may respond differently to medications than humans do, and many pregnant women have used it without any negative consequences. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks in your situation.


Can Pregnant Women Use Rifadin?

Rifadin® (rifampin) is a prescription antibiotic that belongs to a class of antibiotics known as rifamycins. Based on the results of animal studies, this medication may not be safe for use during pregnancy.

What Is Pregnancy Category C?

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. Rifadin is classified as a pregnancy Category C medicine.
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.
Rifadin increased the risk for birth defects in animal studies. More specifically, it caused a neural tube defect known as spina bifida (when the spinal column does not close completely) when given to pregnant rats and mice, and cleft palate (a defect of the mouth) when given to pregnant mice. The drug also caused problems with fetal bone formation and increased the risk for miscarriages when given to pregnant rabbits.
However, 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 her healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn child.
Rifadin has not been adequately studied in pregnant women. However, there are a number of reports of the drug being used in women who are pregnant. Based on these reports, the drug does not appear to harm the fetus or cause birth defects in humans, and many researchers have recommended it be used during pregnancy if necessary. 
When used in the last few weeks of pregnancy, Rifadin has been reported to cause bleeding problems after delivery in both the newborn and mother. These problems may be caused by a lack of vitamin K and, therefore, can be prevented by giving the mother and baby vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for helping the blood to clot.      
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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