II. General

  1. Assess benefit versus risk for medication
  2. Choose medications safe for Lactation
  3. Use medications with short half lives
  4. Take medications just before or after Lactation or before infant's longest sleep time
  5. Ask women of child-bearing age if they are lactating when prescribing medications
  6. Pumping and Dumping is not benign (especially in early Lactation)
    1. Even 1-2 days of Lactation interruption can result in stopping Breast Feeding altogether
  7. Patient Education
    1. Lactating women should ask physician or pharmacist before new medication

III. Management: Antibiotics considered safe in Lactation

  1. Penicillin Antibiotics
  2. Cephalosporin Antibiotics
  3. Erythromycin (concentrated in human milk, increased risk of Pyloric Stenosis)
  4. Clindamycin
  5. Aminoglycosides
  6. Fluoroquinolones (considered safe by AAP, risk of Arthropathy)
  7. Sulfa antibiotics
    1. Avoid in infants with G6PD and in the first month of life due to Hyperbilirubinemia risk

IV. Management: Analgesics

  1. Agents considered safe in Lactation
    1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    2. Ibuprofen (preferred NSAID over Naproxen)
    3. Toradol (probably safe, but parenteral dosing has not been studied)
  2. Agents to use with caution
    1. Aspirin (AAP recommends use with caution)
    2. Naproxen (long half-life and case reports of infant adverse effect on LactMed)
    3. Opioids in general result in infant sedation
      1. Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
      2. Morphine
      3. Fentanyl
  3. Agents to avoid in Lactation
    1. Oxycodone
    2. Demerol
    3. Codeine
      1. Poor Analgesic with variable activity, and generally not recommended as an Analgesic for anyone

V. Management: Anticonvulsants in Lactation

  1. Very low Breast Milk concentrations (highly bound)
    1. Phenytoin (Dilantin)
    2. Tiagabine (Gabitril)
    3. Valproate
  2. Low to moderate Breast Milk concentrations
    1. Carbamazepine
    2. Phenobarbital
    3. Lamotrigine
    4. Topiramate (Topamax)
    5. Zonegran
    6. Primidone (metabolized in part to phenobarbital)
      1. Risk of infant sedation
      2. AAP recommends using with caution
  3. High Breast Milk concentration (minimally bound)
    1. Gabapentin
    2. Levetiracetam (Keppra)
    3. Ethosuximide (AAP: Compatible with Lactation)

VI. Management: Antidepressants considered potentially safe in Lactation

  1. AAP recommends use with caution
    1. Unknown longterm effect
    2. Use if benefits outweigh risk
  2. Preferred agents
    1. Fluoxetine (risk of colic, irritability, sleep disorders, feeding problems, decreased growth)
    2. Sertraline
    3. Paroxetine

VII. Management: Cardiovascular Medications in Lactation

  1. Antihypertensives safe in Lactation
    1. ACE Inhibitors (avoid in first 6 weeks, risk of renal toxicity in Premature Infants)
      1. Captopril
      2. Enalapril
      3. No data on Lisinopril
    2. Hydrochlorothiazide (may decrease milk production)
    3. Methyldopa
  2. Miscellaneous drugs considered safe in Lactation
    1. Digoxin
    2. Coumadin
    3. Heparin (not excreted into Breast Milk)

VIII. Management: Assorted medications considered safe in Lactation

  1. Magnesium Sulfate
  2. RhoGAM
  3. Rubella Vaccine
  4. Oral Contraceptives (avoid until Breast Feeding is established, after 60-90 days)
  5. CT IV Contrast does not require interruption of Breast Feeding (i.e. pump and dump)
    1. Only 1% of IV contrast reaches Breast Milk, and only 1% of that is absorbed by the infant
    2. Newman (2007) Can Fam Physician 53(4): 630–631 [PubMed]
  6. Antihistamines and Decongestants (use with caution)
    1. Risk of decreased milk supply

IX. Management: Herbs and Teas considered safe in Lactation

  1. Avoid Caffeine more than 2 beverages per day
  2. Herbs
    1. Chamomile
    2. Garlic
    3. Ginger
    4. Ginseng
    5. Valerian
  3. Teas
    1. Chicory
    2. Orange Spice
    3. Peppermint
    4. Raspberry
    5. Red bush tea
    6. Rose hips

X. Management: Contraindicated Drugs in Lactation

  1. Medications that decrease milk production
    1. Bromocriptine
    2. Diuretics
  2. Chemotherapeutic Medications
    1. Cyclophosphamide
    2. Cyclosporine
    3. Doxorubicin
    4. Methotrexate
    5. Gold salts
    6. Propylthiouracil
    7. Methimazole
  3. Radioactive Chemicals used in Nuclear Medicine
    1. Gallium-67 (in Breast Milk up to 14 days)
    2. Indium-111 (in Breast Milk up to 20 hours)
    3. Iodine 131 (in Breast Milk up to 14 days)
    4. Radioactive Sodium (in Breast Milk up to 96 hours)
    5. Technetium-99m (in Breast Milk up to 3 days)
  4. Cardiovascular medications to avoid in Lactation
    1. Avoid Atenolol and use other Beta Blockers only with caution
    2. Avoid Acebutolol
    3. Avoid Amiodarone
  5. Miscellaneous Medications
    1. Dextroamphetamine
    2. Ergotamine
    3. Lithium
    4. Metronidazole (esp. if 2 gram dose)
    5. Chloramphenicol
    6. Potassium iodide
    7. Phenindione (Anticoagulant)
  6. Drugs of Abuse
    1. Amphetamine
    2. Cocaine
    3. Heroin
    4. Marijuana
    5. Nicotine
    6. Phencyclidine

XII. References

  1. (2000) Harriet Lane Handbook, Mosby, p. 913
  2. Hale (2006) Medications and Mother's Milk, Hale Publishing
  3. Briggs (1998) Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation, 5th ed
  4. Mason and Wheaton in Herbert (2018) EM:Rap 18(11): 8-9
  5. Middleton (1998) Allergy, Mosby, p. 941
  6. (1994) Pediatrics 93:137-50 [PubMed]
  7. Howard (2001) Pediatr Clin North Am 48(2):485-504 [PubMed]

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