3 Medications and Breastfeeding Armanian Amir Mohammad, MDNeonatologistAssistant Professor of IsfahanFaculty of Medicine
4 The use of a medication by the breastfeeding mother continues to be a common reason for unnecessarily stopping breastfeeding.Usually this occurs because the mother gets incorrect advice as to what drugs are safe for the breastfed infant.The goal of successful maternal therapy during lactation is to provide the necessary therapeutic compounds to the breastfeeding mother while minimizing the amount of drug passed through the milk to the child, and those amounts that are transferred do not cause any significant changes in the child.
5 Pharmacologic Principles There are several factors that enhance drug transfer into human milk, includinglow molecular weighthigh lipid solubilitylong half-lifelow protein bindingdrug metabolites with long half-lifeacid-base characteristics that favor thetransfer of weak bases.Pharmacologic Principles
6 Pharmacologic Principles Intestinal drug absorption may beunpredictable in the neonate due to lower gastricpH.The neonate may have :less protein binding of drugsgreater blood-brain barrier permeabilityless body fat to store drugsThe neonate with delayed renal and hepatic clearance of drugs,is exposed to even greater effects when the mother uses medication with activemetabolites.Pharmacologic Principles
7 Pharmacologic Principles There are practices to minimize drug exposure during breastfeeding.Because drugs disappear from maternal circulation with a known half-life, it is possible to minimize the amount transferred to the infant by recommending that drug dosing occur just at the conclusion of the feeding.In some cases, the drug can be substituted with a safer drug, or the therapy can be delayed.
8 Drug Categories Cigarette Cigarette smoking exposes the infant to nicotine and other compounds, including cyanide and carbon monoxide, directly via milk and indirectly by passive smoking.Cigarette smoking may effect milk production, impair let-down, and result in behavioral changes in the infant.Cigarette
9 CigarettePregnancy and lactation are opportune times to counsel the mother on smoking cessation to protect her health as well as her infant's.Because nicotine appears in milk, there is a slight risk that the breastfed infant may exhibit signs of restlessness, jitteriness, poor feeding, and abnormal sleep patterns.Despite these concerns, breastfeeding should be encouraged because of its protection against respiratory illnesses, which are more common in the infant living in a home with smokers.
10 Ethanol is one prototype of drug demonstrating rapid transport into milk. It is lipid-soluble, is not ionized, and has low molecular weight. Concentrations in milk are very close to maternal plasma concentrations.There is evidence that the consumption of alcohol by the mother may decrease the amount of milk ingested by the infant.Chronic drinking of alcoholic beverages may diminish milk production.Alcohol
12 Caffeine is transferred but the amount in milk is usually less than 1% of the amount ingested by the mother.Because no caffeine is detected in the infant's urine with maternal consumption of up to 3 cups of coffee a day, it is unlikely that the infant has measurable exposure to caffeine.Caffeine
13 Drugs of abuse are contraindicated for breastfeeding mothers.
14 Unfractionated and low molecular weight heparin given to the mother are safe for the breastfed infant because they do not cross into milk.Warfarin is also safe because of its very low concentration in milk due to very high binding of the drug to maternal plasma protein.Anticoagulation
15 Steroids are transferred into milk in extremely small quantities, and transfer from oral inhalers is even smaller. The use of steroids to treat asthma in the breastfeeding mother is safe for the infant.Beta-agonists such as albuterol are associated with very small transfer to the breastfed infant and seem to be safe.Theophylline is rarely used now for either prophylaxis or treatment of acute asthma and ordinarily will not be an issue for the breastfeeding mother. Irritability in the infant, however, has been reported.Newer agents such as zileuton inhibit leukotriene formation, and zafirlukast and montelukast block leukotriene action. No information on their concentration in milk is available and there are no reports of effects on the breastfed infant.Asthma Therapy
16 Maternal depressionMaternal depression, often accompanied by anxiety, carries significant risk for child development.Antidepressants are thought to alter the concentration of neurotransmitters in the CNS particularly in the interneuronal space.Older antidepressants, such as the tricyclics nortriptyline and amitriptyline, have a good safety profile in breastfeeding, including long-term infant developmental follow-up.
17 Maternal depressionserotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are better tolerated and are widely prescribed during pregnancy and lactation.The SSRIs generally exhibit low concentrations in human milk usually less than 50%of maternal plasma level.
18 Maternal depressionMany infants, especially older than 4 months, may have no detectable serum levels of the drug after passage through milk.Infants younger than 4 months may have detectable levels and, in the case of some drugs (fluoxetine), the infant plasma level may be close to the accepted therapeutic range for adults.There have been a few reports of infants who exhibited restlessness, irritability, colic, poor weight gain, and sleep disorders when their mothers took fluoxetine.
19 Maternal depressionTwo often-used SSRIs, fluoxetine and sertraline, have active metabolites and half-lives that are on the order of days, and accumulation may occur in the very young infant.The concern about exposure of the breastfed infant to these compounds is that there are no long-term studies indicating either safety or adverse effects.For the other SSRIs, no adverse effects have been described.
20 Maternal depressionLong-acting benzodiazepines (diazepam), especially if associated with chronic use, may accumulate in milk and produce symptoms in the infant, such as lethargy, sedation, and poor suck.Sporadic use of long-acting drugs and the use of short-acting drugs (lorazepam, midazolam, oxazepam) pose less of a risk.
22 Diabetes therapy generally does not present any concerns for breastfeeding. In some cases, breastfeeding may reduce maternal insulin needs.Insulin does not cross into human milk.Oral HypoglycemicsThere are little data concerning the use of the oral hypoglycemics and virtually none on newer agents.Tolbutamide is usually compatible with breastfeeding.Other drugs should be used with caution by mothers who breastfeed.Diabetes therapy
23 This is based on the experience with their use in pregnancy, which can result in severe and prolonged hypoglycemia in the newborn.The best advice for using these agents during lactation is to avoid them until lactation is well established, the infant is gaining weight satisfactorily, and the parents discuss with the pediatric care professional the need to monitor the infant's blood glucose.Newer data on glyburide are encouraging. There is poor transplacental transfer of this drug likely due to high protein binding and a short elimination half-life.For the same reason, there may be limited transfer into milk.Until safety during lactation is established, however, these agents also should be used with caution.Diabetes therapy
24 H2 receptor blocking agents (famotidine, ranitidine, and cimetidine) seem to be safe during lactation.All of these compounds have been given directly to young infants to treat reflux and in hospitalized children to decrease production of gastric acid and minimize the occurrence of peptic ulcers.Likewise, the use of the protein pump inhibitor omeprazole also seems to be quite safe during lactation, although concentrations in milk have not been documented.GERD
25 Inflammatory Bowel Disease The treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis) may require the use of multiple medications.These include corticosteroids (by enema and orally) and anti-inflammatory drugs such as sulfasalazine, mesalamine, and olsalazine.This substance is rapidly cleared from the plasma of adults and if it does appear in milk, it is in very low concentrations.Inflammatory Bowel Disease
26 Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD occasionally may be treated with an antimetabolite drug, such as 6-mercaptopurine or methotrexate.Previous editions of the AAP policy statement reported that these drugs were contraindicated during breastfeeding because of potential cytotoxicity.However, there exist no data to support this, and the amount transferred may be inconsequential to the baby.These drugs should not be given to lactating mothers without fully informing the parents about the possible immune suppression and effects on growth, even in small amounts, to the breastfed infant.If used, the infants should be monitored for neutropenia.Inflammatory Bowel Disease
27 Hypertension 1) diuretics, 2) beta blocking agents, The treatment of adult hypertension often involves combinations of drugs.Currently there are 4 classes of antihypertensive drugs that are used:1) diuretics,2) beta blocking agents,3) angiotensin converting enzymeinhibitors (ACEI)4) calcium channel blocking agents.Hypertension
28 Diuretics Seem to be safe during lactation Diuretics Seem to be safe during lactation. Hydrochlorothiazide and chlorothiazide have been used for decades and no problems have been described in the breastfed infant.Beta-Blocking Agents. The drugs within this class that seem to be safest for use during pregnancy are propranolol, sotalol, and metoprolol.Hypertension
29 Atenolol and acebutolol may present problems to the breastfed infant. One case report describes cyanosis and bradycardia in a 5-day-old infant whose mother was receiving atenolol.It is prudent to avoid atenolol and acebutolol in the breastfeeding motherThe infant of any mother who needs to take a beta-blocking agent should be monitored, especially for heart rate, feeding problems, respiratory pattern, and activity.Hypertension
30 ACE inhibitors are excreted in limited quantities into milk ACE inhibitors are excreted in limited quantities into milk. There are no reports of problems using these drugs.Calcium channel blocking agents are the newest of the antihypertensive agents. Little is known about their excretion in milk, but it does seem that nifedipine is excreted in small amounts and is safe during breastfeeding.These drugs also is probably safe during breastfeeding.Hypertension
32 Infectious disease treatment is probably the most frequent cause for the use of drugs in the lactating woman.Generally, all antibiotics are transferred to milk. Many of them are also used for the treatment of infectious diseases in pediatrics.The doses received by the breastfed infant always are less than what would be given directly to the infant for therapy.Infectious disease
33 Sulfonamides should not be given to a breastfeeding mother whose infant is jaundiced or in the age group where jaundice may develop.This is because of the possible displacement of bilirubin from albumin in the infant's plasma by sulfonamides, which may increase the risk of kernicterus.In addition, there are concerns that these drugs may increase the risk of hemolysis in infants with a deficiency of G6PD.Infectious disease
34 Tetracycline. There are numerous statements in reviews of drugs in milk cautioning against the use of tetracycline during breastfeeding.The amount of tetracycline that might appear in milk is extremely low, and there are no reports of adverse effects on the infant's GI tract or on calcified tissues, such as bone and teeth.Tetracyclines are not commonly used because they have been replaced by more effective and safer antibiotics.Infectious disease
35 Infectious disease Metronidazole Metronidazole is an antibiotic that is occasionally used in infants for the treatment of Giardia and some anaerobic infections, and is used in pregnancy.Metronidazole seems to be safe for the breastfed infant.Infectious disease
36 Quinolone (nalidixic acid) and fluoroquinolone (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin) antibiotics have reasonably long half-lives, which allow once-or twice-a-day dosing.They are well absorbed from the GI tract, permitting the early switch from intravenous to oral therapy and hence discharge from the hospital and increased compliance.Infectious disease
37 Some of these drugs may interfere with cartilage formation in juvenile mammals. This has resulted in a warning label that they are not to be used in anyone younger than 18 years.However, some pediatric studies involving long-term use in patients with cystic fibrosis have not shown any cartilage damage as measured by serial MRI of joints.Infectious disease
38 Furthermore, ciprofloxacin is approved for limited use in children and the oldest quinolone, nalidixic acid, has been labeled for pediatric use for more than 30 years, although it is now rarely used in the pediatric population.There have been no reported adverse effects of this drug on growth.The amount that would be transferred into human milk is extremely low and if there is no other choice for maternal therapy, a short (1-to 2-week) exposure to quinolones may be acceptable for the breastfed infant.Infectious disease
39 Antifungal agents currently given orally, including fluconazole, are safe for the infant and have been used for direct infant therapy.Infectious disease
41 Treatment in adults is divided into prophylaxis of attacks and treatment of the acute episode. The initial therapy for acute migraine headache may range from nonpharmacologic measures, such as rest, darkened room, and a wet cloth to the forehead, to some of the newest drugs.Migraine headache
42 The use of acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is acceptable during lactation because most are weak acids and highly protein bound.The NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen. There are products that contain a combination of acetaminophen with caffeine.All of these compounds are safe during lactation.The amount of acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen that might be transferred during lactation is only a small fraction of the dose given to infants for fever and pain.Migraine headache
43 The Triptan family contains the following compounds: sumatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, and zolmitriptan. The only one for which data exist is sumatriptan, and the excretion in milk is extremely low and has not caused adverse effects in the breastfed infant.Migraine headache
44 Migraine headache The Ergot family : The intravenous (IV) form of ergotamine is dihydroergotamine, which has a very long half-life.An oral ergot is methysergide.Ergotamines may inhibit prolactin release and thus interfere with lactation. Because alternatives exist with the triptan family, it is prudent not to use drugs in the ergotamine family during lactation.Migraine headache
45 Pain management Can be achieved by appropriate doses of either acetaminophen or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.More severe pain, such as that occurring immediately after birth or after surgery, is best managed with the use of appropriate doses of morphine because morphine has primarily inactive metabolites.Pain management
46 Phenobarbital has low protein binding, and sedation has been reported in breastfed infants exposed to the drug through milk.Most adults receive carbamazepine or valproic acid as single drug agents with the addition of lamotrigine or tiagabine for complex seizure disorders.Seizure Management
47 There are single case reports that indicate infant problems. Cholestasis with carbamazepine has been reported, and thrombocytopenia and anemia with valproic acid.An older publication has described methemoglobinemia in the infant of a mother taking phenytoin.Lamotrigine taken by the breastfeeding mother may be associated with therapeutic levels in the infant.Seizure Management
48 Regardless of which drug or drugs the mother needs for the control of her epilepsy, it would be prudent not only to clinically observe the baby, but also to measure drug concentrations in the infant's plasma on a regular basis, especially in very young infants in the first 2 months of life.Seizure Management
49 Thyroid hormone(levothyroxine) is transmitted into milk in extremely small quantities and will not change the thyroid function of the infant.Women with hyperthyroidism have a choice of 2 drugs for therapy: propylthiouracil and methimazole.Propylthiouracil is the preferred drug because about 75% of it is bound to maternal plasma protein in contrast to methimazole, which has almost no protein binding.Thus the amount of propylthiouracil secreted is quite small.usually less than 1% of the therapeutic dose goes to the infant.
51 Thyroid hormoneThyroid function of the infant is not altered by maternal use of propylthiouracil.With chronic ingestion, iodides, being of low molecular weight, may be transferred to milk and in the infant may interfere with thyroid function.Occasional doses, however, used to protect the thyroid may not be a problem.Chronic use of iodine-containing cough and cold medications should be avoided.
52 If a diagnostic radioisotope is to be administered to a breastfeeding mother, she should be told how long she likely is to be unable to breastfeed, based on the half-life of the radioisotope chosen.This will allow her to express and freeze milk in advance for her infant's use while she is unable to breastfeed.Radioactive Isotopes
53 When she stops breastfeeding temporarily (for example hours for some thyroid scans), she should be counseled to express and discard her milk during the time required for treatment.Mothers who receive therapeutic radioactive isotopes will probably not be able to breastfeed because the dose of radiation remains high for a sustained period.Radioactive Isotopes
54 Galactagogues are drugs that stimulate the production of milk. Galactagogues should be used in conjunction with usual efforts to increase milk production (frequent breastfeeding and milk expression).Galactagogues
55 Metoclopramide commonly is used to increase milk production early in lactation or at any time when milk production seems to be falling.Short-term use of metoclopramide (usually not exceeding 14 days) seems safe.Studies differ as to the success in sustained increase in milk production with this drug. The drug may have multiple effects on the mother's CNS, including sleepiness, depression, or extrapyramidal signs.Short-term use of metoclopramide seems safe because it seldom is used for more than 14 days.Galactagogues
56 Oxytocin spray (40 IU/mL) was commercially available in the past to improve milk ejection, but it is no longer manufactured.Some practitioners have used the available dilute intravenous oxytocin (10 IU/mL) as nasal drops or spray (4 drops instead of 1).
57 Herbal RemediesMany cultures have relied on herbs and other substances to improve milk production.There have been no scientific studies of these preparations to prove or disprove their value as galactagogues.