The government warned doctors that doxycycline -- an antibiotic being prescribed to people who may have been exposed to anthrax -- can stunt fetal growth when taken by pregnant women. Instead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged doctors to prescribe Cipro to pregnant women. The recommendation comes as health officials worry that Cipro is being overprescribed in the general population, possibly causing common bacteria to become resistant to the drug.
The CDC has asked doctors to first consider doxycycline, which works equally well against strains of anthrax detected in recent weeks in the United States. But doxycycline is part of a class of drugs that can endanger fetuses, including staining primary teeth, weakening tooth enamel and stunting bone growth, the CDC warned.
No formal studies have been conducted on how Cipro affects pregnancy, but the CDC said the drug is unlikely to pose a substantial risk. Doctors can also consider amoxicillin, a relative of penicillin.