Not all medications are compatible with breastfeeding. There are several unsafe drugs and medications when breastfeeding.
It is possible that some of these drugs can be still be taken by a nursing mother if she stops breastfeeding for a few days or weeks. If you decide to do this, you will need to pump your milk and dump it during this time to keep up your milk supply. Your baby will stay healthy and fed by drinking previously frozen milk or formula.
Unsafe Radioactive Drugs
These unsafe drugs and medications include radioactive drugs used for some diagnostic tests. Some still can be used if you stop nursing temporarily (but don’t forget to pump!)
Here are the medications and a list of how long it is recommended to interrupt breastfeeding:
—Radioactive Iodine-131: Completely stop nursing
—Radioactive Iodine-123: 12-24 hour interruption as advised by your doctor
—Radioactive Iodine-125: Completely stop nursing
—Tc-99m Pertechnetate: 12-24 hour interruption as advised by your doctor
—Tc-99m Sulfur Colloid: 6 hour interruption
—Tc-99m WBC: 24 hrs for 5 mCi; 12 hour interruption
—Gallium-67: 1 week to 1 month depending on the dosage. Ask your doctor.
—Indium-111: 1 week interuption
—Thallium-201: 24-48 hour interruption as advised by your doctor
—Cisplatinin: 3-7 days postinfusion interupption
—Cocaine: 24 hours
—Metronidazole: 12-24 hours following 2-gram dose only
—Doxorubicin: Completely stop nursing
—Copper-64: 50 hour interruption
Drugs and Medications that Should Never Be Taken While Nursing
There are also some drugs and medications that should never be taken while breastfeeding. These include:
**Bromocriptine (Parlodel): A drug for Parkinson’s disease, it also decreases a woman’s milk supply.
**Most Chemotherapy Drugs for Cancer: Since they kill cells in the mother’s body, they may harm the baby as well.
**Ergotamine (for migraine headaches): Causes vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions in infants.
**Lithium (for manic-depressive illness): Excreted in human milk.
**Methotrexate (for arthritis): Can suppress the baby’s immune system.
**Drugs of Abuse: Some drugs, such as cocaine and PCP, can intoxicate the baby. Others, such as amphetamines, heroin and marijuana, can cause a variety of problems, including irritability, poor sleeping patterns, tremors, and vomiting. Babies become addicted to these drugs. (Let’s face it…you shouldn’t be taking these anyway!!! Stop now for the sake of your little one!)
**Tobacco Smoke: Nursing mothers should avoid smoking. Nicotine can cause vomiting, diarrhea and restlessness for the baby, as well as decreased milk production mommy. Maternal smoking or passive smoke may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and may increase respiratory and ear infections. Keep your baby away from any second hand smoke as well! Why risk it?
Make Better Choices
—Use medications only when necessary.
—Learn ways to reduce the amount of alcohol or drugs in your breastmilk.
—Be flexible; ask your doctor to choose medications that are preferred for breastfeeding mothers.
—Try to completely avoid unsafe drugs and medications when Breastfeeding.
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