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Aripiprazole use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Aripiprazole: Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada, Abilify Discmelt

Aripiprazole Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Limited information indicates that maternal doses of aripiprazole up to 15 mg daily produce low levels in milk, but until more data become available, an alternate drug may be preferred, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm infant.[1] Aripiprazole can lower serum prolactin in a dose-related manner and can affect the milk supply variably.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. A women who was 6 months postpartum was taking aripiprazole 15 mg by mouth daily. Milk levels after 11 and 12 days of therapy (times not stated) at that dose were 13 and 14 mcg/L.[2]

A woman took aripiprazole 15 mg daily by mouth during pregnancy and postpartum. At 3 days postpartum, aripiprazole was not detectable in colostrum because of an unknown substance that interfered with the assay. On day 27 postpartum, 3 additional milk samples were collected at 30 minutes before the dose (24 hours after the last dose), and 4 and 10 hours after the dose. The drug and its metabolite were undetectable (<10 mcg/L) in all samples. The authors estimated that a fully breastfed infant would receive less than 0.7% of the maternal weight-adjusted dosage.[3]

A woman was taking aripiprazole 18 mg daily. On day 6 postpartum, a breastmilk sample (time not reported) contained a concentration of aripiprazole of 38.7 mcg/L.[4]

A woman took aripiprazole 10 mg daily by mouth beginning in week 9 of pregnancy and continuing postpartum. Mid-nursing milk samples were obtained at 8 and 10 weeks postpartum over a 24-hour period after the dose. Aripiprazole and dehydroaripiprazole were measured in the milk. On the first sampling day, mean milk concentrations were 52.6 mcg/L of aripiprazole and 8.8 mcg/L for the metabolite. On the second day, mean milk concentrations were 53.6 and 6.3 mcg/L, respectively. The authors calculated that a 5 kg infant would receive a daily dose of 47 mcg daily and the weight-adjusted dosage would be 8.3% of the maternal dosage.[5]

Infant Levels. A woman was taking aripiprazole 18 mg daily during pregnancy and postpartum. On day 6 her breastfed infant had a serum concentration of 7.6 mcg/L, although some portion of the concentration could have been residual from transplacental transmission because of the drug's on half-life.[4]

Effects in Breastfed Infants

A woman took aripiprazole 15 mg daily by mouth during pregnancy and postpartum. She breastfed her infant (amount not stated) and at 3 months of age, the infant was growing normally.[3]

A woman took aripiprazole 10 mg daily by mouth beginning in week 9 of pregnancy and continuing postpartum. She exclusively breastfed her infant for 6 weeks, then was partially breastfed. At 4 months of age the infant was still breastfeeding and had normal psychomotor and behavioral development and had reached the expected milestones for her age.[5]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Unlike the phenothiazines, aripiprazole has a minimal effect on serum prolactin levels and it has been used to reverse hyperprolactinemia in nonlactating patients taking other antipsychotics.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] The maternal prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed. However, cases of galactorrhea apparently caused by aripiprazole have been reported.[15][16]

One woman began taking aripiprazole 10 mg daily at week 20 of pregnancy. She underwent a cesarean section delivery at term, but was unable to establish lactation. The authors suggested that more data are needed to determine if aripiprazole adversely affects lactation.[17]

A woman took aripiprazole 10 mg daily by mouth beginning in week 9 of pregnancy and continuing postpartum. She exclusively breastfed her infant for 6 weeks, but then began supplementation because of insufficient milk production. Her serum prolactin was 35 to 40 mcg/L, which is lower than expected for a nursing mother. The authors speculated that the aripiprazole might have been the cause of her low serum prolactin and diminished her milk supply.[5]

A woman with bipolar disorder was taking lithium during pregnancy and postpartum. At 10 days postpartum, her infant's serum lithium level was 0.26 mmol/L, so lithium was discontinued. Quetiapine was begun, but discontinued because of maternal sedation. Aripiprazole 2.5 mg daily was begun and within 24 hours, the mother noted a marked decrease in milk supply. After 2 weeks of working with a lactation consultant, she continued to have lactation difficulties and she switched back to lithium. Within 48 hours, her milk supply improved markedly.[18]

A retrospective study of outpatients receiving an average aripiprazole dose of 17.3 mg daily (n = 20) or another antipsychotic (n = 141) found that those receiving such high-dose aripiprazole had an 81% chance of having hypoprolactinemia. Patients not treated with aripiprazole had only a 2.9% chance of having hypoprolactinemia.[19]

Alternate Drugs to Consider

Haloperidol, Olanzapine, Quetiapine, Risperidone


1. Uguz F. Second-generation antipsychotics during the lactation period: A comparative systematic review on infant safety. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2016;36:244-52. PMID: 27028982

2. Schlotterbeck P, Leube D, Kircher T, Hiemke C, Grunder G. Aripiprazole in human milk. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2007;10:433. PMID: 17291382

3. Lutz UC, Hiemke C, Wiatr G et al. Aripiprazole in pregnancy and lactation a case report. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010;30:204-5. Letter. PMID: 20520299

4. Watanabe N, Kasahara M, Sugibayashi R et al. Perinatal use of aripiprazole: a case report. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2011;31:377-9. PMID: 21532364

5. Nordeng H, Gjerdalen G, Brede WR et al. Transfer of aripiprazole to breast milk: A case report. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014;34:272-5. PMID: 24525645

6. Goodnick PJ, Rodriguez L, Santana O. Antipsychotics: impact on prolactin levels. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2002;3:1381-91. PMID: 12387684

7. Kane JM, Carson WH, Saha AR et al. Efficacy and safety of aripiprazole and haloperidol versus placebo in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2002;63:763-71. PMID: 12363115

8. Byerly MJ, Marcus RN, Tran QV et al. Effects of aripiprazole on prolactin levels in subjects with schizophrenia during cross-titration with risperidone or olanzapine: analysis of a randomized, open-label study. Schizophr Res. 2009;107:218-22. PMID: 19038534

9. Boggs AA, Bihday C, Boggs DL. Aripiprazole's effects on risperidone consta induced hyperprolactinemia: A case report. J Pharm Pract. 2012;25:298. Abstract. DOI: doi:10.1177/0897190012441353

10. Lorenz RA, Weinstein B. Resolution of haloperidol-induced hyperprolactinemia with aripiprazole. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007;27:524-5. PMID: 17873694

11. Rocha FL, Hara C, Ramos MG. Using aripiprazole to attenuate paliperidone-induced hyperprolactinemia. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2010;34:1153-4. PMID: 20547197

12. van Kooten M, Arends J, Cohen D. Preliminary report: a naturalistic study of the effect of aripiprazole addition on risperidone-related hyperprolactinemia in patients treated with risperidone long-acting injection. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2011;31:126-8. PMID: 21192158

13. Wahl R, Ostroff R. Reversal of symptomatic hyperprolactinemia by aripiprazole. Am J Psychiatry. 2005;162:1542-3. PMID: 16055781

14. Wolf J, Fiedler U. Hyperprolactinemia and amenorrhea associated with olanzapine normalized after addition of aripiprazole. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2007;32:197-8. PMID: 17381670

15. Mendhekar DN, Andrade C. Galactorrhea with aripiprazole. Can J Psychiatry. 2005;50:243. Letter. PMID: 15898468

16. Ruffatti A, Minervini L, Romano M, Sonino N. Galactorrhea with aripiprazole. Psychother Psychosom. 2005;74:391-2. PMID: 16244518

17. Mendhekar D, Sunder KR, Andrade C. Aripiprazole use in a pregnant schizoaffective woman. Bipolar Disord. 2006;8:299-300. PMID: 16696834

18. Frew JR. Psychopharmacology of bipolar I disorder during lactation: a case report of the use of lithium and aripiprazole in a nursing mother. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2015;18:135-6. PMID: 25352315

19. Lozano R, Marin R, Santacruz MJ. Prolactin deficiency by aripiprazole. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014;34:539-40. PMID: 24911440

Aripiprazole Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Antipsychotic Agents

Administrative Information

LactMed Record Number


Last Revision Date



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