Pregnancy Warnings

Can I Use Chloramphenicol When Pregnant?

Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. Chloramphenicol is used to treat serious infections in different parts of the body. It is sometimes given with other antibiotics. However, chloramphenicol should not be used for colds, flu, other virus infections, sore throats or other minor infections, or to prevent infections.

Chloramphenicol should only be used for serious infections in which other medicines do not work. This medicine may cause some serious side effects, including blood problems and eye problems. Symptoms of the blood problems include pale skin, sore throat and fever, unusual bleeding or bruising, and unusual tiredness or weakness. You and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of taking it.

Can I Use Chloramphenicol When Pregnant?

Clinical data  from studies shows that chloramphenicol is safe to use in pregnancy if it is not circulating at the time of delivery, It does not seem to harm the fetus, which makes it safe to use during most of the pregnancy.

However, chloramphenicol may cause a condition called gray syndrome in premature and newborn infants. There have also been reports of gray syndrome in children up to age 2 and in newborns whose mothers were treated with chloramphenicol injection during labor. Symptoms which usually occur after 3 to 4 days of treatment may include: stomach bloating, vomiting, blue lips and skin due to lack of oxygen in the blood, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing and death.

If treatment is stopped at the first sign of any symptoms, the symptoms may go away, and the infant may recover completely. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication during labor or to treat babies and young children.

What side effects can chloramphenicol cause?

Chloramphenicol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • tongue or mouth sores
  • headache
  • depression
  • confusion

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • hives
  • rash
  • itching
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • watery or bloody stools (up to 2 months after your treatment)
  • stomach cramps
  • muscle aches or weakness
  • sweating
  • feelings of numbness, pain, or tingling in an arm or leg
  • sudden changes in vision
  • pain with eye movement

Why chloramphenicol is banned in some countries?

Studies have shown that chloramphenicol is genotoxic, which means it could cause genetic damages and possibly lead to cancer. Chloramphenicol is also known to cause an extremely serious disease in people called “aplastic anemia”.

What other information should I know?

Ask your doctor any questions you have about chloramphenicol injection and capsules. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the chloramphenicol , talk to your doctor.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

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