Benzalkonium Chloride use while Breastfeeding
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Benzalkonium Chloride Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
Topical maternal application of benzalkonium chloride or benzethonium chloride or their presence as a preservative in pharmaceuticals would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants.
Maternal Levels. A study randomized 80 consecutive term patients into 4 groups who received either benzethonium chloride or povidone-iodine as a skin disinfectant before delivery and one of these for postpartum vaginal lacerations. Prepartum doses were about 7 mL and postpartum doses were about 0.5 mL. The calculated amount of iodine ingested by the infants in breastmilk during the first 5 days of life correlated well with the amount of povidone-iodine applied to their mothers' skin. Patients who received prepartum povidone-iodine had higher median breastmilk iodide levels on day 5 postpartum than those who received benzethonium chloride (0.93 mg/L pre- and postpartum povidone iodine, 0.64 mg/L benzethonium chloride). 
Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Effects in Breastfed Infants
A study in Japan randomized 80 consecutive term patients into 4 groups who received either povidone-iodine or benzethonium chloride as a skin disinfectant before delivery and one of these for postpartum vaginal lacerations. Prepartum doses were about 7 mL and postpartum doses were about 0.5 mL of solution. Infant thyrotropin levels were elevated in the infants whose mothers received topical povidone-iodine pre- and postpartum compared to infants whose mothers received benzethonium chloride.
Possible Effects on Lactation
Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Alternate Drugs to Consider
1. Koga Y, Sano H, Kikukawa Y et al. Affect on neonatal thyroid function of povidone-iodine used on mothers during perinatal period. J Obstet Gynaecol. 1995;21:581-5. PMID: 8640469
Benzalkonium Chloride Identification
CAS Registry Number
- Antiinfective Agents, Local
- Antibacterial Agents
- Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
LactMed Record Number
Information from the National Library of Medicine's LactMed Database.
Last Revision Date
Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.
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