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All antibiotics cause risk of overgrowth by non-susceptible bacteria. Manufacturers list other major hazards by class; however, the healthcare provider should review each drug individually to assess the degree of risk.
Generally, breastfeeding may be continued while taking antibiotics, but nursing mothers should always check with their physician first. Excessive or inappropriate use may promote growth of resistant pathogens.
Hypersensitivity to penicillins may be common, and cross allergenicity with cephalosporins has been reported. (That is, those who are allergic to penicillin may also be allergic to cephalosporins.) Penicillins are classed as category B during pregnancy.
Several cephalosporins and related compounds have been associated with seizures. Cefmetazole, cefoperazone, cefotetan, and ceftriaxone may be associated with problems in poor blood clotting. Pseudomembranous colitis (an intestinal disorder) has been reported with cephalosporins and other broad spectrum antibiotics. Some drugs in this class may cause kidney toxicity. Cephalosporins are classed as category B during pregnancy.
Regarding fluoroquinolones, lomefloxacin has been associated with increased sensitivity to light. All drugs in this class have been associated with convulsions. Fluoroquinolones are classed as category C during pregnancy.
Of the tetracyclines, demeclocycline may cause increased photosensitivity. Minocycline may cause dizziness. Healthcare providers do not prescribe tetracyclines in children under the age of eight, and they specifically avoid doing so during periods of tooth development. Oral tetracyclines bind to anions such as calcium and iron.
Although doxycycline and minocycline may be taken with meals, people must be advised to take other tetracycline antibiotics on an empty stomach and not to take the drugs with milk or other calcium-rich foods. Expired tetracycline should never be administered. These drugs have a pregnancy category D. Use during pregnancy may cause alterations in fetal bone development.
Of the macrolides, erythromycin may aggravate the weakness of people with myasthenia gravis. Azithromycin has, rarely, been associated with allergic reactions, including angioedema (swelling), anaphylaxis, and severe skin reactions. Oral erythromycin may be highly irritating to the stomach and when given by injection may cause severe phlebitis (inflammation of the veins). These drugs should be used with caution in people with liver dysfunction. Azithromycin and erythromycin are pregnancy category B. Clarithromycin, dirithromycin, and troleandomycin are pregnancy category C.
The aminoglycosides class of drugs causes kidney and ear problems. These problems can occur even with normal doses. Dosing should be based on kidney function, with periodic testing of both kidney function and hearing. These drugs are pregnancy category D.
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