MSD Manual

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Macrolides

By

Brian J. Werth

, PharmD, University of Washington School of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020
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Topic Resources

Macrolides include the following:

  • Azithromycin

  • Clarithromycin

  • Erythromycin

  • Fidaxomicin

Macrolides work by preventing bacteria from producing proteins they need to grow and multiply.

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Use of Macrolides During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Macrolides should be taken during pregnancy only when the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks.

With erythromycin, azithromycin, and fidaxomicin, no harmful effects on the fetus have been observed in animal studies, but no well-designed studies have been done in pregnant women. Erythromycin is considered among the safest antibiotics to use during pregnancy. It is considered safer than azithromycin because it has been used more, and thus more is known about it.

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