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Atazanavir use while Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 4, 2022.

Drugs containing Atazanavir: Evotaz, Reyataz

Atazanavir Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Amounts of atazanavir in milk appear to be low based on limited data. The combination product, which also contains the CYP3A inhibitor cobicistat, has not been studied during breastfeeding, but would be expected to have similar or greater levels of atazanavir in milk. In the US and other countries where access to clean water and affordable replacement feeding are available, it is recommended that mothers living with HIV not breastfeed their infants to avoid postnatal transmission of HIV-1 infection.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Three women taking atazanavir (dose not stated, but presumably 300 mg daily) as part of their highly active antiretroviral regimen had sampling of breastmilk and plasma on postpartum days 5 and 14 at 0, 2, 5, 8 and 24 hours after a dose. Median breastmilk levels over 24 hours were 212 mcg/L on day 5 and 265 mcg/L on day 14. Median peak breastmilk levels of 419 mcg/L occurred at 5 hours after the dose.[1]

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Gynecomastia has been reported among men receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy. Gynecomastia is unilateral initially, but progresses to bilateral in about half of cases. No alterations in serum prolactin were noted and spontaneous resolution usually occurred within one year, even with continuation of the regimen.[2-4] Some case reports and in vitro studies have suggested that protease inhibitors might cause hyperprolactinemia and galactorrhea in some male patients,[5,6] although this has been disputed.[7] The relevance of these findings to nursing mothers is not known. The prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.


Spencer L, Neely M, Mordwinkin N, et al. Intensive pharmacokinetics of zidovudine, lamivudine and atazanavir and HIV-1 viral load in breast milk and plasma of HIV + women receiving HAART. 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections Montreal, Canada 2009:Paper #942. Abstract.
García-Benayas T, Blanco F, Martin-Carbonero L, et al. Gynecomastia in HIV-infected patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2003;19:739–41. [PubMed: 14585204]
Pantanowitz L, Evans D, Gross PD, et al. HIV-related gynecomastia. Breast J. 2003;9:131–2. [PubMed: 12603389]
Evans DL, Pantanowitz L, Dezube BJ, et al. Breast enlargement in 13 men who were seropositive for human immunodeficiency virus. Clin Infect Dis. 2002;35:1113–9. [PubMed: 12384846]
Hutchinson J, Murphy M, Harries R, et al. Galactorrhoea and hyperprolactinaemia associated with protease-inhibitors. Lancet. 2000;356:1003–4. [PubMed: 11041407]
Orlando G, Brunetti L, Vacca M. Ritonavir and saquinavir directly stimulate anterior pituitary prolactin secretion, in vitro. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2002;15:65–8. [PubMed: 12593790]
Montero A, Bottasso OA, Luraghi MR, et al. Galactorrhoea, hyperprolactinaemia, and protease inhibitors. Lancet. 2001;357:473–4. [PubMed: 11273087]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Milk, Human

Anti-Infective Agents

Anti-HIV Agents

Antiviral Agents

Anti-Retroviral Agents

HIV Protease Inhibitors

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Further information

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