Medications and Breastfeeding: References

August 1, 2011. Posted in: Medications & Vaccines

Below are references (telephone help lines, web pages and print) on medications and breastfeeding.

See also:


Help Lines

Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center at The University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, USA. This center maintains a database of drugs and medications and provides free information to physicians and lactation consultants on their use and effects during breastfeeding. Ruth A. Lawrence, MD is the Director of the center.

Motherisk (phone 416-813-6780) at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Call or visit their website for evidence-based information about the safety or risk of drugs, chemicals and disease during pregnancy and lactation.

Drugline (phone 0844 412 4665) at The Breastfeeding Network, Paisley, Scotland. Call the Drugline for information on taking prescription drugs while breastfeeding, or visit their website for handouts on drugs and breastfeeding.

Professional Articles

(most recent listed first)

Della-Giustina K, Chow G. Medications in pregnancy and lactation. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2003 Aug;21(3):585-613.

Anderson PO, Pochop SL, Manoguerra AS. Adverse drug reactions in breastfed infants: less than imagined. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2003 May;42(4):325-40.

PDF Breastfeeding and Maternal Medication: Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs from the Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, World Health Organization, 2002.

The Transfer of Drugs and Other Chemicals Into Human Milk from the American Academy of Pediatrics, updated September 2001. This includes the list of drugs that have been approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers.

Update: Transfer of Drugs and Chemicals into Human Milk by Cheston M. Berlin, Jr., MD, from Breastfeeding Abstracts, August 2001, Volume 21, Number 1, pp. 3-4.

Spencer JP, Gonzalez LS 3rd, Barnhart DJ. Medications in the breast-feeding mother. Am Fam Physician. 2001 Jul 1;64(1):119-26.

Gardiner S and Begg E. Drug Safety in Lactation. Prescriber Update 2001 May; No.21:10-23.

Which drugs are contraindicated during breastfeeding? Practice guidelines by Myla E. Moretti, MSC; Amy Lee, MSC; Shinya Ito, MD, from Canadian Family Physician 2000;46:1754-7.

Drug distribution in human milk by K. F. Ilett, J. H. Kristensen, R. E. Wojnar-Horton & E. J. Begg, from Australian Prescriber 1997;20(2);35-40.

Medications and Breastfeeding by Pat Sturges, from LEAVEN, Vol. 33 No. 2, April – May 1997, pp. 39-41.

Maternal Medication Use During Breastfeeding from Pediatric Pharmacotherapy, Volume 2, Number 4, April 1996.

Professional Websites

Breastfeeding Pharmacology is the web site of Thomas Hale, Ph.D. Dr. Hale is a renowned Breastfeeding Pharmacologist and the author of Medications and Mothers’ Milk.

Breastfeeding Basics: Breast Milk and Drugs, a module from an academic, non-commercial, short course on the fundamentals of breastfeeding.

Drugs in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding from

Drugs / Chemicals in Human Breast Milk. Module 15 of the American Association of Poison Control Center’s electronic continuing education program for Specialists in Poison Information.

General Articles

Is this safe when breastfeeding? @ kellymom

Taking Medications Safely While Breastfeeding by William Sears, MD

Information on Medication Use During Lactation from Lactation Education Resources

Medication Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding from the US Centers for Disease Control

UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service from the West Midlands and Trent Drug Information Services

Breastfeeding and Medications by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC

When a Nursing Mother Gets Sick by Anne Smith, IBCLC

Drugs and Breastfeeding by Anne Smith, IBCLC

Maternal Health by Paula Yount

American Academy of Pediatric Committee on Drugs. “Inactive” Ingredients in Pharmaceutical Products: Update (Subject Review). Pediatrics 1997 (January); 99(1):268-278. This policy statement from the AAP does not have information specific to breastfeeding mothers, but is interesting and useful as it discusses some adverse effects of various “inactive” ingredients in medications including food dyes and artificial sweeteners.

Print Resources

Hale, Thomas. Medications and Mothers’ Milk, 10th Edition. Pharmasoft Medical Publishing, 2002.

Hale, Thomas and Pamela Berens. Clinical Therapy in Breastfeeding Patients, 2nd Edition. Pharmasoft Medical Publishing, 2002.

Ilett, Kenneth and Thomas Hale. Drug Therapy and Breastfeeding: From Theory to Clinical Practice.

Briggs, Gerald G., Roger K. Freeman, and Sumner J Yaffe. Drugs in Pregnancy & Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal & Neonatal Risk, 6th Edition. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2001.

RA, Lawrence RM, editors. Breastfeeding, A Guide for the Medical Profession. St. Louis: Mosby, Inc., 1999.

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