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Budesonide use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Budesonide: Symbicort, Pulmicort Turbuhaler, Pulmicort Flexhaler, Uceris, Pulmicort Respules, Rhinocort, Rhinocort Aqua, Entocort EC, Pulmicort Nebuamp, Rhinocort Allergy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 10, 2020.

Budesonide Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

The amounts of inhaled budesonide excreted into breastmilk are minute and infant exposure is negligible. When taken by mouth, budesonide is only about 9% bioavailable; bioavailability in the infant is likely to be similarly low for any budesonide that enters the breastmilk. Most experts consider oral and inhaled corticosteroids, including budesonide, acceptable to use during breastfeeding.[1][2][3][4][5]

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Eight women with asthma were using inhaled budesonide 200 mcg (n = 4) or 400 mcg twice daily (n = 4) by Pulmicort Turbihaler. Peak milk levels of budesonide of 168 ng/L and 335 ng/L occurred at 32 and 43 minutes after inhalation with the 200 mcg and 400 mcg doses, respectively. Average infant doses were estimated to be 6.8 and 14.2 ng/kg daily for the 200 mcg and 400 mcg dosages. A fully breastfed infant would receive a maximum of 0.3% of the weight-adjusted maternal dosage, assuming 100% oral bioavailability from breastmilk.[6]

Infant Levels. Four infants whose mothers were taking budesonide 200 mcg (n = 2) or 400 mcg (n = 2) twice daily by Pulmicort Turbihaler. The infants had serum samples taken 1.5 hours (range 0.7 to 2 hours) after the first breastfeeding after drug administration and 2.3 hours (range 2.1 to 2.6 hours) after maternal drug inhalation. All had undetectable (<8.6 to 17.2 ng/L) serum budesonide concentrations.[6]

Effects in Breastfed Infants

None reported with any corticosteroid.

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

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

Alternate Drugs to Consider



1. Greenberger PA, Patterson R. The management of asthma during pregnancy and lactation. Clin Rev Allergy. 1987;5:317-24. PMID: 3319123

2. Ellsworth A. Pharmacotherapy of asthma while breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1994;10:39-41. PMID: 7619245

3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Asthma and Pregnancy Working Group. NAEPP expert panel report. Managing asthma during pregnancy: recommendations for pharmacologic treatment-2004 update. 2004;1-57.

4. Nielsen OH, Maxwell C, Hendel J. IBD medications during pregnancy and lactation. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;11:116-27. PMID: 23897285

5. Mahadevan U, Matro R. Care of the pregnant patient with inflammatory bowel disease. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;126:401-12. PMID: 26241432

6. Falt A, Bengtsson T, Kennedy BM et al. Exposure of infants to budesonide through breast milk of asthmatic mothers. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007;120:798-802. PMID: 17825891

Budesonide Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Anti-Asthmatic Agents

Corticosteroids, Inhaled

Anti-allergic Agents

Corticosteroids, Systemic


Anti-Inflammatory Agents

Administrative Information

LactMed Record Number



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Further information

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