12 Medicines You Should Never Take During Breastfeeding

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Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.

12 Medicines You Should Never Take During Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers take special care of what they eat and drink since everything they put in their bodies passes on to their little ones. But sometimes it becomes necessary for the mother to take medications during breastfeeding because of a medical condition. There is a wide range of medicines that are safe or likely to be safe during breastfeeding, medicines you should never take during breastfeeding. But still, some medicines are unsafe to take during breastfeeding. In this article, we have a list of medicines that you should never take during breastfeeding.

This article will also help you understand why each of these medicines may pose a risk for you or your baby or both. Now we will look at some of the medicines that are considered to be dangerous to take when you are breastfeeding. Find out 12 medicines you should never take during breastfeeding.

In This Article

12 Medicines You Should Never Take During Breastfeeding

Many medicines can transfer to breast milk and can cause problems for the infant. However, this depends on a number of factors. Dose, effects of drugs on the baby, and the way you consume a particular medicine determine the risk.

1. Amantadine(Symmetrel)

This medication is prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease either on its own or with a combination of other drugs. Amantidine is also an antiviral medication and is used for treating certain types of influenza and flu. Remember, this medication is not recommended for common colds and all types of viral infections.

Some animal studies have shown that using this drug can cause fetal harm. Human studies are extremely limited, but doctors and medical experts recommend avoiding this medication during pregnancy.

2. Amiodarone(Cordarone)

Aminidarine can effectively treat heart-related problems. This drug is unsafe to use while breastfeeding. Animal studies with this medicine prove it has toxic effects on the embryo. If you are taking Amiodarone, stop nursing immediately.

3. Antineoplastic Agents

Antineoplastics or anticancer drugs are highly effective in treating cancer. However, they are not safe when you are breastfeeding. These medications can affect the cell multiplication in the fetus and also cause high levels of toxicity. In addition, there is a risk of neutropenia in infants if the mother takes antineoplastic agents when breastfeeding For this reason, women taking these drugs should stop breastfeeding.

4. Aspirin During Breastfeeding

Aspirin is an effective treatment for pains, inflammation, and fevers and provides relief in conditions such as arthritis. Some doctors also prescribe this medication for certain heart conditions. Research studies show that the mother ingesting aspirin results in the release of salicylic acid into breast milk.

Higher aspirin doses result in higher milk and higher aspirin levels. Some experts believe that the high dose long-term use of this aspirin can lead to metabolic acidosis and conditions such as Reye’s Syndrome in the infant. In unavoidable circumstances, the doctor may put the breastfeeding mother on low-dose aspirin for rare use.

[Read: Giving Aspirin To Children: Reye’s Syndrome And Side Effects]

5. Chloramphenicol

Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic very effective in treating many serious bacterial infections like meningitis, plague, typhoid, cholera. It is also used to treat certain eye and ear infections such as conjunctivitis. Avoid using this medication when breastfeeding, especially if your little one is premature or you/your partner have blood disorders such as aplastic anemia.

Vomiting, excessive gas, and sleepiness may occur in the babies if the mother takes oral chloramphenicol while nursing. You can use some alternative drugs while nursing.

6. Clozapine (Clozaril)

It is a psychiatric medicine and is used to treat schizophrenia. Clozapine works by balancing the neurotransmitters in the brain. It should not be used in nursing mothers. Clozapine poses a risk of excessive drowsiness or severe hematologic effects. The babies whose mothers took clozapine during breastfeeding experienced speech delay, agranulocytosis.

7. Dipyrone

It is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug used for pain and inflammation and fever reduction. In some countries, the drug is banned for people of all ages due to the risk of developing agranulocytosis (a condition where white blood cells decrease). Nursing mothers should avoid this drug completely as large amounts of the drug pass into the breast milk.

Traces of this medication may present in the urine and blood of the breastfed babies. Though there are not many studies regarding this, the drug can cause pharmacological effects in the baby. Therefore, breastfeeding mothers should stay away from it.

8. Gold Salts During Breastfeeding

Gold salts (Myochrysine) are an effective medication that helps treat rheumatoid arthritis.  According to studies, the medication can pass into the mother’s milk, which can get into the baby through breastmilk. Manufacturers of this medication recommend that mothers stay away from this medication as the gold salts can cause serious adverse reactions in the baby. It is advisable to stop nursing or to use alternative medicines.

9. Radioactive Iodine During Breastfeeding

Radioactive iodine is used in the treatment of hyperthyroidism and certain types of thyroid cancers. Iodine gets concentrated in the breasts, which will find its way into the breast milk.  When mothers undergo radioactive iodine treatment nurses babies, the babies are at a higher risk of developing thyroid problems such as thyroid disorders, increased risk of thyroid cancers, and damage to the thyroid gland. For this reason, a nursing mother should either avoid the therapy or avoid breastfeeding if therapy is inevitable.

10. Effects of Lipid-Lowering Drugs During Breastfeeding

Lipid-lowering drugs like Lescol, Zocor, Mevacor, Lipitor, Lopid is excellent for lowering the bad cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the blood.  Even research on the effects of lipid-lowering drugs on the nursing baby is less, experts suggest that these medications can disturb cholesterol synthesis in babies which is necessary for proper growth and development. For these reasons, nursing mothers should avoid lipid-lowering drugs to be on the safe side.

11. Metamizole

Metamizole is an antipyretic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory drug. The medication quickly breaks down upon entering the body and shows quick relief from symptoms. However, breastfeeding mothers must stay away from this medicine as it can quickly pass into mother’s milk in high concentrations. As a result, the babies receive the drug in higher amounts which may prove dangerous.

12. Salicylates

Salicylates are medications that help bring down fever, pain, and inflammation in cases of arthritis. Exposure to this drug may cause Reye’s syndrome in the breastfed infant. Avoid using this drug while breastfeeding or try to use alternative medicines.

As we can see, each of the above medicines has harmful effects on nursing babies. Hence, breastfeeding mothers should avoid these medicines. However, under certain circumstances, you may need to choose medications and therapy over breastfeeding. Your doctor will be the best person to guide you and give you the best advice in such situations.

[Read: Is It Safe to Take Alprazolam (Xanax) While Breastfeeding?]

Safe Medicines During Breastfeeding

Safe Medicines During Breastfeeding

The drugs which are generally safe during lactation are:

  • Mild pain relievers like Acetaminophen and Paracetamol
  • Antacids like Maalox, Mylanta to treat upset stomach
  • Antibiotics  to treat ear, lung, skin, urinary tract, throat infections like Cephalosporins
  • Clotrimazole prescribed for treating fungal infections
  • Progestin-only contraceptive pills like Micronor, Norplant
  • Ibuprofen pain reliever
  • Decongestant nasal sprays

Now you have an idea about 12 Medicines You Should Never Take During Breastfeeding. Though a lot of drugs are safe to use during breastfeeding. It is better to consult your doctor before taking any OTC medicine.

Read Also: Is It Safe To Take Antibiotics While Breastfeeding?

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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