Methylprednisolone use while Breastfeeding
Drugs containing Methylprednisolone: Medrol Dosepak, Solu-Medrol, Medrol, MethylPREDNISolone Dose Pack, Depo-Medrol, Methylpred DP, A-Methapred, Medralone, Depoject-80, Medralone 40, Show all 26 »Methylcotolone, Methylcotol, Depmedalone, Adlone-40, Med-Jec-40, M-Prednisolone, Methacort 80, Hybrisil, Predacorten, Methacort 40, Medipred, Depopred, Dep Medalone 80, Adlone-80, Duralone, Medralone 80
Methylprednisolone Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
Limited information indicates that maternal doses of methylprednisolone up to 8 mg daily produce low levels in milk and would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants. With high maternal doses, especially intravenous doses, avoiding breastfeeding for 3 to 4 hours after a dose should decrease the dose received by the infant. However, this maneuver is probably not necessary. Local injections, such as for tendinitis, would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants.
Maternal Levels. In one woman taking 6 mg daily of methylprednisolone by mouth, 2 peak milk levels occurred: one at 2 hours after the dose and another 8 hours after the dose. Peaks were about 7 mcg/L, while levels fell to about 2.5 mcg/L 6 hours after the dose and to about 1 mcg/L 10 hours after the dose.
Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Effects in Breastfed Infants
None reported with methylprednisolone or any other corticosteroid. Three infants were breastfed from birth during maternal use of methylprednisolone 6 to 8 mg daily with no reported adverse effects up to 3 months. In one of the papers, 2 infants had normal blood cell counts, no increase in infections and above average growth rates.
Possible Effects on Lactation
Published information on the effects of methylprednisolone on serum prolactin or on lactation in nursing mothers was not found as of the revision date. Adequate endogenous adrenocorticoid levels are necessary for normal lactation.
A study of 46 women who delivered an infant before 34 weeks of gestation found that a course of another corticosteroid (betamethasone, 2 intramuscular injections of 11.4 mg of betamethasone 24 hours apart) given between 3 and 9 days before delivery resulted in delayed lactogenesis II and lower average milk volumes during the 10 days after delivery. Milk volume was not affected if the infant was delivered less than 3 days or more than 10 days after the mother received the corticosteroid. An equivalent dosage regimen of methylprednisolone might have the same effect.
Alternate Drugs to Consider
1. Coulam CB, Moyer TP, Jiang NS et al. Breast-feeding after renal transplantation. Transplant Proc. 1982;13:605-9. PMID: 6817481
2. Grekas DM, Vasiliou SS, Lazarides AN. Immunosuppresive therapy and breast-feeding after renal transplantation. Nephron. 1984;37:68. Letter. PMID: 6371564
3. Henderson JJ, Hartmann PE, Newnham JP, Simmer K. Effect of preterm birth and antenatal corticosteroid treatment on lactogenesis ii in women. Pediatrics. 2008;121:e92-100. PMID: 18166549
4. Henderson JJ, Newnham JP, Simmer K, Hartmann PE. Effects of antenatal corticosteroids on urinary markers of the initiation of lactation in pregnant women. Breastfeed Med. 2009;4:201-6. PMID: 19772378
CAS Registry Number
- Corticosteroids, Systemic
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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