Eyes Home > Ciloxan and Pregnancy

Based on the results of animal studies, Ciloxan (ciprofloxacin ophthalmic) is considered a pregnancy Category C medicine. This means it may not be safe for use by women who are expecting. When extremely high doses of the drug's active ingredient were given to pregnant rabbits, it increased the risk for miscarriages. However, a healthcare provider may prescribe this drug if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Can Pregnant Women Use Ciloxan?

Ciloxan® (ciprofloxacin ophthalmic) is a topical medication used to treat bacterial infections of the eye. It comes as an eye drop and an eye ointment. Ciloxan belongs to a group of medications called fluoroquinolones, or just "quinolones" for short.
Because Ciloxan is used in the eye, levels of the medication in the body are expected to be very low or nonexistent. Based on this information, Ciloxan is not thought to be particularly dangerous during pregnancy. However, all of the possible risks to humans are not known at this time.

What Is Pregnancy Category C?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans, but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.
Medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
Ciloxan has not been studied in pregnant women or in pregnant animals. However, ciprofloxacin, the active ingredient in Ciloxan, has been studied in pregnant rats, mice, and rabbits. When given in high doses (up to six times the usual human oral dose) to pregnant mice and rats, ciprofloxacin did not appear to cause birth defects or other problems in the offspring. However, it did appear to increase the risk for miscarriages in pregnant rabbits.
There have been cases of birth defects in infants whose mothers took oral ciprofloxacin during pregnancy; however, one single type of defect does not appear to stand out as occurring more often. Therefore, it is difficult to tell if ciprofloxacin actually caused the birth defects.
It is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child.
It is also important to point out that the amount of Ciloxan expected to be absorbed into the bloodstream from the eye is very small. Therefore, it is difficult to make any conclusions about Ciloxan use in pregnancy based on oral ciprofloxacin information.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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