In animal studies, clindamycin did not appear to increase the risk of birth defects or other problems for the fetus. As a result, the FDA has classified clindamycin as a pregnancy Category B medication. However, because animals do not always respond to medications in the same way that humans do, talk to your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking this drug.
Can Pregnant Women Take Clindamycin?
Clindamycin is a prescription antibiotic. Studies in animals and limited human data suggest that the drug may be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not currently known.
Clindamycin and Pregnancy Category B
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 B is given to medicines that have not been adequately studied in pregnant humans but that do not appear cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Medications that have been shown to be safe for use in pregnancy in humans but have caused problems in laboratory animals are also given a Category B rating.
Studies of clindamycin in pregnant mice and rats did not suggest that the medication increases the risk of birth defects or other problems. In fact, oral clindamycin is often used to treat bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women (usually during the early second trimester); doing so appears to decrease the risk of miscarriages and preterm birth. Because bacterial vaginosis is sometimes asymptomatic (does not cause any obvious symptoms), women who have a high risk for preterm birth are often screened for this condition and treated with clindamycin, if necessary.
This medicine is also used to treat serious infections of the mother, the uterus, and the fetal tissues (such as with an infection known as chorioamnionitis). Clindamycin crosses the placenta sufficiently to effectively treat such infections.
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 B drug should be given to a pregnant woman only if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child. In most cases, the benefits of clindamycin (especially when treating serious infections) clearly outweigh the possible risks.
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