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Safe Medications during Breastfeeding

Although many drugs are safe to use when you're breastfeeding, most will get into your milk to some degree and may even affect your milk supply. To be safe, check with your child's doctor before taking any kind of medication, even over-the-counter drugs. The information in this table was compiled and reviewed by Philip Anderson, a pharmacist and the editor of LactMed, the U.S. National Library of Medicine's drugs and lactation database. If you have more questions about how a drug you're taking might affect your breast milk or your baby, check our pregnancy warnings and breastfeeding warnings pages.

Drugs Safe to Take in Usual Doses

Name of Drug Brand Name Use
Acetaminophen Tylenol Used for pain relief
Acyclovir and valacyclovir Zovirax, Valtrex Antiviral for herpes infections
Antacids Maalox, Mylanta Used to treat upset stomachs
Bupivacaine Marcaine A local anesthetic
Caffeine coffee, soft drinks A stimulant
Cephalosporins Keflex, Ceclor, Ceftin, Omnicef, Suprax Antibiotics for lung, ear, skin, urinary tract, throat, and bone infections
Clotrimazole Lotrimin, Mycelex Used to treat yeast and fungal infections
Contraceptives (progestin-only) Micronor, Norplant, Depo-Provera Used for birth control
Corticosteroids Prednisone Used to treat inflammation of joints and other conditions
Decongestant nasal sprays Afrin Used to treat stuffy noses
Digoxin Lanoxin Used to treat heart problems
Erythromycin E-Mycin, Erythrocin Used for skin and respiratory infections
Fexofenadine Allegra Antihistamine for allergies and hay fever
Fluconazole Diflucan Used to treat yeast infections
Heparin and LMW heparins Used to keep blood from clotting
Ibuprofen Motrin, Advil Used for pain relief
Inhalers, bronchodilators, and corticosteroids Albuterol, Vanceril Used for asthma
Insulin For diabetes; dosage required may drop up to 25 percent during lactation
Laxatives, bulk-forming and stool softening Metamucil, Colace Used to treat constipation
Lidocaine Xylocaine A local anesthetic
Loratadine Claritin Antihistamine for allergies and hay fever
Low molecular weight heparins (enoxaparin, dalteparin, tinzaparin) Lovenox, Fragmin, Innohep Anticoagulants
Magnesium sulfate Used to treat preeclampsia and eclampsia
Methyldopa Aldomet Used to treat high blood pressure
Methylergonovine (short courses) Methergine Used to prevent or control bleeding after childbirth
Metoprolol Lopressor A beta-blocker used to treat high blood pressure
Miconazole Monistat 3 Used to treat yeast infections
Nifedipine Adalat, Procardia Used for high blood pressure and Raynaud's syndrome of the nipple
Penicillins Amoxicillin, Dynapen Used to treat bacterial infections
Propranolol Inderal A beta blocker used to treat heart problems, and high blood pressure
Theophylline Theo-Dur Used to treat asthma and bronchitis
Tretinoin Retin A Cream used for acne
Thyroid replacement Synthroid Used to treat thyroid problems
Vaccines (except smallpox and yellow fever)
Vancomycin Vancocin An antibiotic
Verapamil Calan, Isoptin, Verelan Used for high blood pressure
Warfarin Coumadin Used to treat or prevent blood clots

Drugs Probably Safe in Usual Doses

Little is known about the effects of these drugs on a breastfeeding infant, but if there is an effect, it will probably be mild. In rare cases, a child has an allergic reaction.

Name of Drug Brand Name Use
ACE inhibitors Enalapril (Vasotec), Benazepril (Lotensin) Used to treat high blood pressure
Anticholinergic agents Pro-Banthine Used to treat intestinal and gall bladder spasms; may reduce milk supply
Anticonvulsants Depakote, Dilantin, Tegretol (avoid ethosuximide, phenobarbital, and primidone) Used for seizures and mood disorders
Antihistamines Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton May reduce milk supply and cause infant drowsiness or fussiness
Antituberculars INH Used to treat tuberculosis
Azathioprine Imuran Used to suppress the immune system following organ transplants
Barbiturates (except phenobarbital) Fiorinal, Fioricet For sedation and tension headaches
Bupropion Wellbutrin For depression
Clindamycin Cleocin Used to treat abdominal and vaginal infections
Oral decongestants Sudafed, Entex PSE Used to treat congestion associated with colds or allergies; often reduces milk supply
Ergonovine (short course) Used to treat uterine bleeding. May reduce milk supply.
Fluconazole Diflucan Antifungal
Gadolinium Magnevist, Omniscan Contrast agent for MRI studies
Haloperidol Haldol Used to treat psychosis
Histamine H2 blockers Cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), nizatadine (Axid), and famotidine (Pepcid - preferred) Used to treat stomach problems
Labetalol Normodyne, Trandate Used for high blood pressure; caution with preterm babies
Hydrochlorothiazide (low doses) HydroDiuril Diuretic for high blood pressure
Lorazepam Ativan Used to treat anxiety
Methimazole Tapazole Used for hyperthyroidism; less than 20 mg/day is probably safe
Metoclopramide Reglan Used for gastrointestinal problems and to increase milk supply
Midazolam Sedative used in anesthesia
Naproxen Naprosyn, Anaprox, Aleve Used for pain relief; okay if baby is at least 1 month old
Oxazepam Serax Used to treat anxiety
Paroxetine Paxil Used to treat depression
Phenothiazines Compazine (anti-nausea), Stelazine, Thorazine (anti-psychotic)
Propofol Diprivan Sedative used in anesthesia
Propylthiouracil (PTU) Used to treat hyperthyroidism
Quinidine Used to treat heartbeat irregularities
Quinolone antibacterials Cipro and Levaquin; Noroxin is preferred Treatment of urinary tract infections
Salicylates (occasional use) Aspirin Used for pain relief
Sertraline Zoloft Used to treat depression
Spironolactone Aldactone, Aldactazide Used to treat high blood pressure
Sumatriptan Imitrex Used to treat migraines
Tetracyclines < 14 days tetracycline, doxycycline Used to treat acne and urinary tract infections
Trazodone Used for depression and sleep
Tricyclic antidepressants (avoid doxepin) Elavil, Tofranil, Pamelor Used to treat depression; nortriptyline preferred
Verapamil Calan, Isoptin, Verelan Used for high blood pressure

Last updated: August 2008

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