Doxycycline is a common tetracycline antibiotic that is mostly used to fight bacterial infections. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has categorized the antibiotic in Category D, which means that using Doxycycline during pregnancy is generally not recommended unless the benefits of using the drug greatly outweighs the risks to the unborn baby. Events in which this may arise include times when no other antibiotic that is as efficient is available, or when it is needed to treat a very serious infection like anthrax. Discussing options and the potential benefits and risks of using Doxycycline in pregnancy with a health care professional is highly recommended.
Most doctors will not prescribe Doxycycline in pregnancy and highly recommend women who become pregnant to discontinue the antibiotic immediately and switch to something else. This is because use of this medication may result in permanent yellow, brown or grey tooth discoloration in the unborn baby. Inadequate enamel may also occur in the child’s teeth.
There is little research concerning women who took Doxycycline long term. Some studies, however, have suggested that prolonged use of the antibiotic may result in abnormal bone formation in the fetus. Many doctors also believe that using Doxycycline in pregnancy could potentially affect the baby in more serious ways, though they generally agree that more research must be done.
Part of how Doxycycline works is by binding to minerals within the body and then settling in the bone permanently. Many medical professionals suspect this may be the cause of the tooth and bone abnormalities that may occur in unborn children. As of 2011, most of the studies centered on Doxycycline use in pregnancy focus on short term use of the drug or use on non-human subjects. Many doctors recommend that more research be performed to gain further insight into the potential damage that may be done to unborn children when women take Doxycycline during pregnancy.
The general side effects of Doxycycline are also potentially harmful for the pregnancy. Doxycycline side effects that may pose a health risk for the mother or child include difficulty swallowing, watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, and blurred vision. An allergic reaction may also occur and be potentially risky for the pregnancy. Signs of an allergic reaction include a skin rash, wheezing, difficulty breathing, hives and throat swelling.
The general consensus is that using Doxycycline in pregnancy is acceptable if the benefits of doing so greatly outweigh the risks to the fetus. Doxycycline is often used to treat bacterial infections, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Other uses of Doxycycline include the treatment of acne and facial abrasions caused by rosacea.