Nalbuphine use while Breastfeeding
Drugs containing Nalbuphine: Nubain
Nalbuphine Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
Limited data indicate that nalbuphine is excreted into breastmilk in small amounts. Because nalbuphine has poor oral absorption, it is unlikely to adversely affect the breastfed infant. No special precautions are required.
In adults, nalbuphine has very poor oral bioavailability and is metabolized to inactive metabolites. Parenteral doses of 75 to 300 mcg/kg are used in infant and children.
Maternal Levels. Seven women who were 3 to 7 days postpartum received a single 20 mg IM dose of nalbuphine. Milk samples were collected several times beginning at 1 hour and finishing at 24 hours after the dose. The half-life of elimination from milk was about 8 hours. A reported peak milk level in one mother was about 25 mcg/L and it occurred 1 hour after the dose. The average milk level over the 24 hour study period in all 7 mothers was about 5 mcg/L (range 1.5 to 20 mcg/L). Using the peak level reported in this study, an exclusively breastfed infant would receive a dosage of 3.7 mcg/kg daily, equivalent to 1.1 % of the maternal weight-adjusted dosage. Using the average milk level from this study, an exclusively breastfed infant would ingest 0.75 mcg/kg daily, equivalent to 0.2% of the maternal weight-adjusted dosage or 0.25 to 1% of the infant parenteral dosage.
Eighteen women were administered nalbuphine 0.2 mg/kg intravenously every 4 hours (average 25.5 mcg/kg daily) for pain following cesarean section. Milk samples were collected every 3 hours during the second day of drug administration. Because of small milk volumes, only 32 samples from 14 of the women were collected. The average milk nalbuphine concentration was 42 mcg/L, and the average maximum milk concentration was 61 mcg/L. The authors estimated that a fully breastfed infant would receive an average of 7 mcg/kg daily which amounts to about 0.6% of the weight-adjusted maternal dosage.
Effects in Breastfed Infants
Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Possible Effects on Lactation
Nalbuphine can increase serum prolactin. However, the prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.
A study compared women who received nalbuphine or butorphanol during labor (n = 26) to those who received no analgesia (n = 22). The time to effective breastfeeding was longer (46.5 minutes) in the analgesia group than in the no analgesia group (35.4 minutes).
Alternate Drugs to Consider
1. Wischnik A, Wetzelsberger N, Lucker PW. [Elimination von nalbuphin in die muttermilch [Elimination of nalbuphine in human milk]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1988;38:1496-8. PMID: 3196391
2. Jacqz-Aigrain E, Serreau R, Boissinot C, Popon MJ et al. Excretion of ketoprofen and nalbuphine in human milk during treatment of maternal pain after delivery. Ther Drug Monit. 2007;29:815-8. PMID: 18043481
3. Saarialho-Kere U. Psychomotor, respiratory and neuroendocrinological effects of nalbuphine and haloperidol, alone and in combination, in healthy subjects. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1988;26:79-87. PMID: 3060191
4. Crowell MK, Hill PD, Humenick SS. Relationship between obstetric analgesia and time of effective breast feeding. J Nurse Midwifery. 1994;39:150-6. PMID: 7931694
CAS Registry Number
- Analgesics, Opioid
- Narcotic Antagonists
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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