Birth Defect Risk Linked to Antibiotics Like Bactrim and Macrobid

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By: AboutLawsuits | Published: November 3rd, 2009

A new study has found that certain types of antibiotics, such as Bactim, Thiosulfil Forte, Furadantin and Macrobid, could increase the risk of birth defects when used by pregnant women.

The study, published in the November issue Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, suggests that there is an increased risk of birth defects from sulfa drugs (sold under the brand names Bactrim and Thiosulfil Forte) and nitrofurantoins (sold as Furadantin and Macrobid). The drugs are often used to treat urinary tract infections, however, the most commonly used antibiotics during pregnancy, penicillins, were not found to have the same risk for unborn children.

The antibiotic birth defects study is the first large investigation of the risks of antibiotic use by pregnant women, researchers said. Doctors looked at about 18,000 women, including more than 13,000 women who gave birth to children with birth defects, and 5,000 women from the same geographic regions who gave birth to healthy babies.

Focusing on antibiotics used for urinary tract infections, the researchers interviewed the women about their antibiotic use during the months before conception and through the first trimester of their pregnancy. Researchers warned that some of their data is based on the subjects’ memories, which can be faulty. At least a third of the women interviewed could not remember which antibiotics they were prescribed.

Researchers found that sulfa drugs were linked to six different types of birth defects, including an increase in rare brain problems, heart defects, and stunted limbs. Nitrofurantoins were linked to four different types of birth defects, including cleft palate and heart problems.

However, the scientists warned that even with the increased risks, the chances of birth defects from antibiotics were very rare. The study authors said that they believe the risk to the baby from untreated infection was far greater, and suggested that pregnant women who need to take antibiotics discuss their options with their doctor.

Researchers said more studies were needed before a determination could be made on which antibiotics were safe for pregnant women to take and which ones were not.

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There Are 41 Comments So Far • (Add Your Comments)

  1. I would like to know if gastroschisis is on the list of defects from the nitrofurantoin. I had four bladder infections during pregnancy, my first at 6 weeks and was treated for it. This is the exact time frame for gastroschisis to occur. My 5 month old daughter has just completed her 3rd surgery thanks to gastroschisis. It would be nice to know this could have easily been prevented.

  2. I have been diagnose with uti at 9 weeks of pregnacy; now i am 16 weeks pregnat my OB prescribed me macrobid 100mg. I am reading that microbid causes side birth deffects.

  3. This sort of study is the essence of “junk science”. It should never have seen the light of day. All it will do is frighten women away from needed treatment and create more lawsuits. Any study that depends upon people trying to remember what they took or didn’t take many months later is, in a word, bogus. A great disservice has been done by its publication. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s finding exposure on a legal web site.

  4. My daughter was born with a heart defect, and I was on Macrobid the entire pregnancy for an UTI. I have often wondered if this drug played a factor in this….Seven years later, this does not surprise me. But, it definitely saddens me. So, David, unless you have a child born with a defect and have gone through the heartache of the procedures to correct the defect, and the possibility of other procedures, you probably should have little to say. If there is someone who is responsible for giving my daughter a heart defect…..then, they should pay for their negligence.

  5. Tammy, I can’t imagine how hard that must have been to go through that. I can completely understand your desire to seek answers for your daughter’s condition, but I don’t agree with you that anyone is negligent. No one knew about this 7 years ago, and the jury is still out on this. It was a poorly designed study whose results are questionable at best. There is no definitive proof that Bactrim or Macrobid are actually to blame, and like the website says the infection they treated posed a much greater risk than the drug.

  6. My daughter was born 23 years ago with arthrogryposis. I have been plagued throughout my lift with chronic UTIs and I took macrobid throughout my pregnancy.

  7. I was on both these antibiotics for both of my pregnancies as they kept telling my I had UTI. It was found out after that I never even had a UTI, I have interstitial cystitis and is often misdiagnosed during pregnancy as frequent UTI. My boys were both born with a deformity in their chest which may cause heart issues and will probably need surgery later in life. I am very interested in finding out more about this and if this may be linked. Doctors had no explanation for the issue. I want to know how this happened.

  8. I was on Macrobid during the first trimester of my pregnancy to treat a urinary tract infection and my son was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

  9. My daughter took Macrobid at about 12-16 weeks pregnant and my grandson was born without a left hand!!!

    does anyone know of someone doing a class action suit on this?

  10. My mother just passed away from her lungs being wiped out as a result of using Macrobid. My mother went from living in her own home, to living with me after spending three months in the hospital, in which two months of that she was on a ventilator . and four Leeters of oxygen. She had to learn how to walk ,sit up, feed herself, write, swallow, she was like a 67 year old baby after coming off the ventilator, I had to care for her up until she died in June 2010. all of her medical records state that her illness was caused from using the drug Macrobid.

  11. I need help in a class action llaw suit for being prescirbed Bactrim and suffering SJS and a triple organ failure for the allergic reaction as well as a hepatic coma.

  12. I was one of the mothers who was involved in the study of babies born with birth defects and I was on Macrobid during my 10th to 12th week of pregnancy and my son was born with birth defects of the organs that were developing during the 10th to 12th week. I didn’t take or do anything else of concern during this time but take the prescribed macrobid from my OB. I would like to see more research be done on this to help avoid future babies born with birth defects due to Macrobid and other UTI medications and these drugs not be prescribed to pregnant mothers until we know for sure.

  13. I was on macrobid during conception and for many months after during my pregnancy. My daughter was born with serious health problems along with Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia that required 2 open heart surgeries already and will need more in the future. What is the other option instead of taking this during pregnancy for a uti?

  14. I was given Macrobid for a UTI just before I found out I was pregnant. I remember the physician asking “Could you be pregnant?” and I stated “Doubtful but it’s possible. We just started trying.” He changed the medication to one felt to be safe. My son was diagnosed with a neuronal migration defect (the brain didn’t develop correctly on the right side). We went through genetic counseling to determine the cause and to see if we were at risk with future children. I agree with Andrea and hope they determine if there is cause/effect. I agonized about the reasons for his defect wondering if it was something I was expose to at the hospital where I work, if I had a genetic abnormality I passed along, should we have other children. My 2nd son was born fine and all genetic testing was negative. There’s nothing I can do to undo the past but I would have thought twice about taking this medication had I know there was a potential risk. My son also has a mild septal defect, ADD and seizure disorder.

  15. Hello everyone – My daughter also took macrobid when she was pregnant and my granddaughter was born with a hedarotaxy syndrome a rare hear defect, no spleen, and her spine is in the shape of an S. Her stomach is also on the opposite side of her body.

  16. I was prescribed this medication when I was pregnant, though I did not take the full dose as I found out I was allergic to it, but I had taken it for about half the time before the rash started. My daughter was born with several heart defects (Hypoplastic right ventricle, pullmonary stenosis, asd, vsd, and several other smaller deformations.) She was taken to U of M when she was 3 days old where she had her first of 3 heart surgeries at 6 days old. I have learned one very important thing, never take the word of a doctor of pharmacist…research every way you can before agreeing on any form of treatment with your doc, your time and your baby are more worth it than anything!

  17. I was first prescribed Macrobid when I was pregnant with my oldest son Michael Jr. in 1998, for a UTI. I was further along in my pregnancy and noticed that my son QUIT MOVING for 3 DAYS! I immediately stopped taking the meds and called the doc. He told me that there was nothing to worry about, but after I insisted on another medicatation, he gave me something else and my son began to kick again in a day or so.
    I was again given Macrobid a year later when I was pregnant (again) with my son Dakota, but I was only about 20 weeks. I didn’t remember the name of the medicine I was on before and I couldn’t feel Dakota kick as hard or as much as I did Michael. I was only on Macrobid for about 1 11/2 – 2 weeks when I started spotting…the doctors told me that everything was FINE. At 23 weeks, Dakota was born. I KNOW this is all because of the MACROBID! The doctors tried to tell me it was because of the UTI…I have 5 children and have had a UTI with all 5. It was the medication. I just need someone to agree with me. My son will be 12 years old on the 4th of July this year. He has been left down and nearly killed by many doctors, nurses, and hospitals. I am his only hope.

  18. I took Macrobid in the 10-12 week range, and my son was born with a cleft eye (very rare birth defect called Coloboma) And has also very recently been diagnosed with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, as well as Periventricle Nodular Heterotopia. He has some significant developmental delays as well. We have an EEG and an ECG scheduled to check for epilepsy, as well as any heart issues. My heart tells me that the Macrobid is the cause of all of this, as my other child thankfully does not have any of these problems, and there is no family history of any of it. I was SO careful in my pregnancies and I was too trusting of my OBGYN and his opinions on what was safe. Taking this medication is my biggest regret in life.

  19. My wife was put on Macrobid for a UTI during our first pregnancy (2007). Our son was born healthy, but as time progressed we found out he has neurological problems such as sensory integration disorder, food intolerance (lactose and slight sucrose), and cannot speak yet and he just turned 4. We’ve always wondered how this could happen since neither family has a history of these problems. Our third son was just born this year, and we’re worried because she was put on Macrobid during his pregnancy as well.

  20. I was prescribed Macrobid during both of my pregnancies for UTI’s. My oldest son is 6 now and was diagnosed with Autism at 3.5 years and my youngest son is now being seen for ADHD. I have been looking and looking for answers why these things happened to my children. I wonder if this drug had any affect on them and for their problems….

  21. I was put on macrobid in my 8th thru 9th week of pregnancy and we just found out on our 20 week ultrasound that our son only has 1 kidney! I never even had symptoms of a UTI! I just wish I would of listened to my gut and not took this medication.

  22. My OBGYN prescribed me Macrobid to treat a UTI I had all throughout my pregnancy. This was back in 2002. My daughter was born with Tetrology of Fallot and has had two open heart surgeries. She will need more throughout her life. She has also two stents placed in her lung arteries. I always knew this medication was linked to her condition.

  23. I had UTI and took antibiotics during pregnancy. My daughter is 9 years old now, and I just came across this information. She has congential cataracts, heart beat irregular, kidney sizing difference, hernial surgery. I would like to know if the antibiotics caused these defect? I thought it was the Retina A Micro, but I was told no. Please let me know if there is any legal outcome to the pain and suffering my daughter continues to go through.

  24. I had a UTI during the first trimester of pregnancy and took the Macrobid between the 7-8 week mark. My son was born with both of his hands deformed. It just so happens that I was taking the drug at the time when the hands really start to develop. It’s really sad that my son will have to suffer for the rest of his life because of this. He is even missing his middle finger on his right hand. You should see the x-rays; the bones are there, they are just in the wrong places.

    The drug is linked to “transverse limb deficiency (malformation of the limbs)” as stated in this article: http://www.examiner.com/article/cdc-study-finds-two-antibiotics-linked-to-birth-defects

  25. What\’s funny is the doctor prescribed me microbid during this pregnancy. and I was having no problems before, but then Iw as prescribed it and then came the scratching down in that area, then my baby\’s bladder was enlarged and now my baby is dead. So We are planning a uterus cleanup hopefully this week, depending when they can get me in to do it. Nothing even started happening until I took that medicine, which hacks me the wrong way……..Don\’t know if that is the reral cause of the baby dying while in the womb, but the way it has gone since the medicine was prescribed, tells me exactly how it happened……..:(

  26. My son was born with cleft lip pallate the doctor prescibed me bactrim or the generic version when iwas 4 weeks pregnant and i had to take the pharmacist told me it could cause it and i did

  27. I too took macrobid in the first several weeks of pregnancy and will never again listen to a doctor before researching a medication. My son was born with one kidney and he had 2 surgeries to remove the non developed kidney and because the one kidney he had was not completelyfunctioning and the ureta was enlarged. It was the most horrifying experience to ever have to go through. I am convinced the medication was the reason. I don’t even take medication or a headache, very healthy etc Never drank or smoked in my life. He may need a transplant at some point down the road.

  28. I took both Bactrim and Macrobid during my first pregnancy, and my son was born perfect. He is almost 2 and is totally fine…. it’s not a certainty something will happen.

  29. I was on Macrobid a lot during my pregnancy and my son is 8 years old now. He is autistic, has ADHD, and anxiety.

  30. I took the generic for Macrobid (Nitrofurantion) during my last trimester for a UTI with my first sonI. My son is 4 1/2 yrs old and diagnosed with Autism. He flaps his hands and is having problems talking. He repeats alot of stuff that he hears. My second son is 18 months old and isn’t showing any symptoms of Autism at all. I never had a UTI with the second son. After giving birth to my first son, I ended up with Postpartum Pre-eclampsia and had to be admitted to the hospital and injected with Magnesium Sulfate (?? not sure of the name). I ended up with liver problems for at least 1 1/2 yrs after giving birth to the first son. My liver levels still aren’t totally perfect.

  31. I took Macrobid when I was about 5wks 3 dys with my current pregnancy, my son stayed at that gestational age for 2 whole weeks…. at my 16 week gender check I found out that my son has Encephalocele and he will not survive…. I am now 34 wks pregnant with my precious Dante and he will be born by C-Section on 3/5 and we are donating his organs, they wanted me to abort him, however he is my child and living in me with all of his organs functioning so my husband and I decided to donate, does anyone know if his disorder is linked to MACROBID OR (Nitrofurantion)????

  32. I have sent an email privately

  33. I was prescribed Macrobid during my 5th week. My daughter was born with Complete Atrioventricular Septal Defect and Patent Ductus Arteriosis. Open heart surgery at 5 months old. It has been almost 4years since surgery, PDA is back & may need a catheter put in, and there is some subaortic stenosis.
    Just so happens the heart starts to form at 5 weeks gestation. No doubt in my mind it was the Macrobid.
    Anymore I am 100% natural, I do not trust doctors OR Big Pharma.

  34. I was prescribed Macrobid from my 4th month of pregnancy until delivery. My daughter was born with gut issues and has autism. There’s no doubt in my mind this is due to Macrobid.

  35. Hi my name is zyaira my daughter is 4 months old with amniotic band syndrome due to me taking this microbid she was born with 3 fingers… If anyone has any info to a law suit please contact me , I took microbid up until after I was 36 weeks pregnant , I suffered from other cases far as myself ! I really need some information about this drug and proofs to get the compensation I need ! Thank you !

  36. I took micro bid while pregnant with my son. I was told it was absolutely safe for fetus . My son is a nonverbal autistic with DX problems with gut and glutathione problems. Research shows micro bid affects glutathione and says don’t give it to pregnant women uncertain months. I think ALL months. Thought about talking to attorney but it won’t change my son…

  37. Is there any legal action being taken against the makers of macrobid for birth defects? I was put on macrobid in my first trimester to treat a uti, also took it daily for prevention. I just lost my son due to fatal birth defects. He had rare heart and brain abnormalities. Hypoplastic right heart, truncus arteriosis and part of his brain did not develop. I really feel that this drug is related to these birth defects. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  38. I was on macrobid for my last two pregnancys around the 11-12 week mark for one and 7-9 week mark for second. I lost both babies in second trimester due to cystic hygromas. I had 4 previous prenancies all healthy and was not on macrobid for any of them. “Fool me once shame on you…fool me twice shame on me.”

  39. On February 23rd I went to the ER for a suspected UTI. I was approximately 12 weeks pregnant, before hand my pregnancy was progressing completely normally with a healthy baby showing on ultrasound. I had been taking Diclectin for NVP and everything was going smooth, the doctor didn’t give me results of urine and sent me home with a Macrobid prescription and assumed UTI with no follow up call and just told me take it , I didn’t have a UTI. 6 weeks later I went back to ER at the hospital and ultrasound revealed NO FETAL HEARTBEAT. They sent me home i went for a second opinion at another hospital and the baby was indeed dead, (for approx 6 weeks) the next day March 19th 2014 I received medication to expel my dead baby and finish a miscarriage. Within 3 hours, my water broke, i got in the bath,20 minutes later I delivered an intact male baby, Benjamin. The placenta then came out shortly after. I walked down the stairs and in a state of shock I felt a second gestational sac rupture, went to the washroom And double checked, to confirm. Within 5 minutes a second baby’s foot became lodged and I had to pull it out, I got scared and called my fiancé and my mom. Then with my fiancé with me I expelled another piece of placenta. Within 3 minutes and a gush of blood a second baby’s face was seen stuck in me I kept looking down to make sure and my fiancé double checked as well. 10 minutes of waiting and a slight push , the rest of the second baby’s body came out. We couldn’t detect if our second baby was a male or female he/she was mostly blue , swelled and in rough shape (missing his or her leg and foot that i had pulled out earlier). I didn’t even know i was pregnant with twins. A half hour later , i started to expel the placenta for the second baby. I had a full term normal pregnancy 2 years ago with no use of antibiotics. I strongly believe without a doubt MACROBID killed our babies. Reading other peoples stories brings me some closure but it doesn’t stop other families from being affected.

  40. Sara, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious babies! It really hurts me that this many women and their babies have went through so much because of these drugs and it is still prescibed to pregnant women! My son is now 3 years old and was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and Septo-Optic Dysplasia at 6 moths. Because of the ONH he is totally blind and the SOD means he is missing a part of his brain that my cause him to not grow properly. I also believe he may be Autistic. I took both Bactrim and Macrobid during the last few months of my pregnancy due to a servere kidney infection. Something told me not to take them.. I should have listened to my gut. I always suspected the bactrim, but it was obviously both.

  41. I’m a bactrim baby and so is my cousin and we both have suffered both physical and emotional pain due to the birth defects caused by this medicine. I would like to express my sincere empathy for the families affected by these drugs. Also, to those who think the studies aren’t concrete enough to arrive at these conclusions, maybe you should just do a little more research yourself. Ive met five people in my city alone that were affected very similar to myself who’s mother was given bactrim during pregnancy. My mom and her cousin both took bactrim during pregnancy within a few years of each other and both of us (my cousin and I) were born with one normal hand and one extremely deformed hand (less than three fingers for each of us that don’t even look like fingers). These other stories are far worse and I feel lucky considering the alternatives but these drugs need to be removed from the market. They aren’t safe. I don’t care about collecting from a law suit I just don’t want anyone else to have to go through this unnecessarily. It’s greatly altered my life, my confidence, my relationships, everything and its not an easy life to live.

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