American Academy of pediatricians says ok for nursing moms to take most meds
The majority of nursing moms no longer need to fear that taking needed medications and vaccines will harm their babies, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics., which is now working with the FDA to make changes in the way certain drugs are labeled, and to prod pharmaceutical companies to study how drugs may affect breast-feeding. In addition, they are advocating a change in labeling on drugs labels from”Nursing Mothers” to “Lactation.”
“Because we know that breast-feeding has both developmental and health benefits for both the mothers and their infants, we are encouraging research in this area so physicians can make informed decisions about how best to treat their patients,” stated Hari Cheryl Sachs, head of the FDA’s pediatric and maternal health maternal health team for Drug Evaluation and Research.
“Currently, most drug labels now contain a “ blanket” legal statement that warns consumers against taking nearly any medication while pregnant,” something that has long been a bone of contention for Thomas Hale, director of the InfantRisk Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, who has not only been studying the transfer of medications to breast milk for more than three decades, but has written the book Medications and Mothers' Milk.
Breast-feeding advocates including Diana West of the La Leche League also hailed the news by stating, "The general 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 nursing mothers.”
While there are definitely certain medications including codeine, oxycodone (Oxycontin) and propoxyphene (Darvon), that can cause serious problems in breast-fed infants, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve) may be safer choices for nursing mothers. In addition, it was found that the antidepressant drug Zoloft (sertraline) did not show up in breast milk during testing.
To learn more about what drugs are safe for nursing moms, Hale also recommends that women and their healthcare providers check out the LactMed, a database of information on the transfer of drugs to breast milk maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.