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(Date of issue: March 2017, Version: 1)

This is a UKTIS monograph for use by health care professionals. For case-specific advice please contact UKTIS on 0344 892 0909. To report an exposure please download and complete a pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

A corresponding patient information leaflet on Aminoglycosides is available at


Aminoglycosides are bactericidal agents used topically as eye or ear drops, parenterally for serious infections, nebulised in the management of chronic pulmonary infection due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with cystic fibrosis, or orally for pre-operative sterilisation of the bowel. Those available in the UK include amikacin, gentamicin, neomycin, streptomycin, and tobramycin.

Ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity are recognised side effects of aminoglycosides. Ototoxicity has also been reported following in utero streptomycin exposure and it is therefore possible that use of any aminoglycoside in pregnancy carries an increased risk of permanent damage to the ear or kidney in exposed offspring. Susceptibility to aminoglycoside-induced deafness is genetically determined in some cases and genetic testing for the common predisposing mitochondrial RNA mutation 1555A>G is available in the UK.

Overall, there is currently no signal that risk of congenital malformation following in utero exposure to aminoglycoside antibiotics as a class, or for those individual aminoglycosides where data are available, is increased, however the available data are too limited to exclude one. Limited data do not suggest an increased risk of low birth weight or preterm delivery following in utero exposure to aminoglycosides. No studies have assessed risk of spontaneous abortion or intrauterine death.

Where possible, the results of culture and sensitivity tests should be available before making a treatment choice in accordance with local prescribing guidelines, and risk factors for aminoglycoside oto- and nephrotoxicity should be assessed in each patient. If an aminoglycoside is indicated, gentamicin is the preferred choice during pregnancy as there is more documented experience of its use than for other aminoglycosides. 
Exposure to aminoglycosides at any stage in pregnancy would not usually be regarded as medical grounds for termination of pregnancy or any additional fetal monitoring. However, other risk factors may be present in individual cases which may independently increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. Clinicians are reminded of the importance of consideration of such factors when performing case-specific risk assessments.
This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use full UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from to be sure you are using the most up-to-date version. The summaries of these monographs are openly available on

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to health care professionals at

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from or to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.