Medication Information Resource for Nursing Mothers

JULY 14, 2015
One of the most commonly consulted resources for information on medication use while breastfeeding is the prescribing information. This is a solid starting point, but it is not always sufficient.

Another resource that provides relevant information on medication use during lactation is LactMed.

LactMed is a free, user-friendly, online resource in database form that is part of the National Library of Medicine's Toxicology Data Network, which provides information on toxicology, chemical safety, and environmental health.

LactMed was developed by a pharmacist and is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The database is updated monthly and includes the following information:  
·         Summary of medication use during lactation
·         Information on the levels of medications in breast milk and infant blood
·         Effect of the medication on lactation
·         Possible adverse effects in nursing infants
·         Therapeutic alternatives

As an example, here is a summary from LactMed's record on amoxicillin:

“Amoxicillin is acceptable to use during breastfeeding. Limited information indicates that single maternal doses of amoxicillin 1 gram produce low levels in milk that are not expected to cause adverse effects in breastfed infants. Occasionally, rash and disruption of the infant's gastrointestinal flora, resulting in diarrhea or thrush, have been reported, but these effects have not been adequately evaluated. Amoxicillin powder for suspension reconstituted with breastmilk is absorbed, as well as the powder reconstituted with water.”

The data in LactMed are all derived from scientific literature and referenced. A peer-review panel reviews the data to assure scientific validity and currency.

The medication's full record shows a last revision date near the bottom of the webpage. LactMed also provides a glossary of terms related to drugs and lactation.

Free LactMed apps are available for Apple and Android devices.
 

Yamini Shah, PharmD
Yamini Shah, PharmD
Yamini Shah, PharmD, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy. She has held positions in a community pharmacy and with a pharmacy benefits manager. Her career experience includes drug information support, literature research and evaluation, and clinical content development and reviews.
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