Most Medications Can Be Used Safely By Breastfeeding Moms
August 26, 2013

Most Medications Can Be Used Safely By Breastfeeding Moms

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is claiming that most medications are safe  for mothers who are breastfeeding to take.

It is widely assumed that women should either stop taking medications or discontinue nursing due to the potential harm the drugs could cause to the infant. However, the latest study provides an outline for physicians to follow when advising which medications mothers can still take, and the safe list far outweighs the unsafe.

The researchers said the most common products of concern are pain medications, certain antidepressants, and drugs to treat substance/alcohol abuse or smoking cessation. Even though most drugs and therapeutics are safe for mothers to take, the AAP said it advises physicians to obtain the most up-to-date information on drugs and lactation.

"It is important for breastfeeding mothers to inform their child’s pediatrician about all of the medications they are taking, including herbal products," the AAP said in a statement. "Not all drugs are present in clinically significant amounts in human milk or pose a risk to the infant."

Hari Cheryl Sachs, a pediatric and maternal health expert at the Food and Drug Administration, told the Wall Street Journal that the report is just an "affirmation of current thinking." She said it reflects more information available now than what was available in 2001, which was the last time the AAP completed a study.

Other findings have emerged as well, showing certain medications are safe to take while breastfeeding. In 2010 scientists wrote in the journal Neurology that taking seizure medication while breastfeeding will have no harmful effect on a child's IQ later on in life.

Diana West, a lactation consultant and spokesperson for La Leche League International, told HealthDay that one thing to take away from the most recent article is that mothers don't necessarily have to go cold turkey on their medications.

"The general takeaway message -- that most drugs are compatible with breast-feeding, that mothers don't have to wean to take drugs and that the labels should accurately reflect the science -- is really great news and progress for breast-feeding mothers," said West.