Zymar and Pregnancy
Zymar (gatifloxacin) is an eye drop, and very little of the medication is expected to reach the bloodstream after normal use. For this reason, it is not expected to cause serious problems during pregnancy. However, the full risks are still unknown, so the manufacturer recommends using Zymar during pregnancy only if the benefits to the mother outweigh any risks to the fetus.
Zymar® (gatifloxacin) is an antibiotic eye drop used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis, an eye infection commonly called "pink eye." It belongs to a group of medications called fluoroquinolones, or just "quinolones" for short.
Zymar is applied directly to the eye. It is not expected to be absorbed into the body, so blood levels will be low, or even nonexistent, after normal use. Based on this information, Zymar is not thought to be particularly dangerous during pregnancy. However, all the possible risks to humans are not known at this time.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a 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.
In addition, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
In animal studies, very high oral doses of gatifloxacin (the active ingredient in Zymar) caused fetal problems when given to pregnant rats, including problems with bone development. When given in late pregnancy to rats, gatifloxacin increased the risk for fetal death.
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 drug 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 Zymar expected to be absorbed from the eye is very small. However, because Zymar has not been studied in pregnant women, the full risks are not known. The manufacturer recommends that it only be used during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh any potential risks.