Cimetidine use while Breastfeeding
Drugs containing Cimetidine: Tagamet, Tagamet HB, Acid Reducer-Cimetidine, Leader Heartburn Relief, Equaline Acid Reducer
Cimetidine Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
Limited information indicates that maternal cimetidine results in infant dosages much less than those given directly to neonates. Cimetidine would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants, especially if the infant is older than 2 months. However, because of its potential for causing hepatic enzyme inhibition, other drugs might be preferred.
Maternal Levels. After a single oral dose of 400 mg of cimetidine, the peak milk level of 5 mg/L occurred about 3 hours after the dose and was about equal to the peak serum level in a woman who had been breastfeeding for 6 months. Milk levels remained higher than serum levels for the duration of the dosing interval. With a multiple-dose regimen of 200 mg 3 times daily and 400 mg at bedtime, milk levels just prior to the doses were relatively constant between 4.9 and 6 mg/L. These levels indicate that a fully breastfed infant would receive between 0.74 and 0.9 mg/kg daily which is much less than reported neonatal dosages of 5 to 10 mg/kg daily.
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
Histamine H2-receptor blockade is known to stimulate prolactin secretion. Cimetidine may also have additional, nonspecific actions that stimulate prolactin secretion. Oral cimetidine doses of 400 mg 4 times daily increased serum prolactin by 50 to 112% in 6 patients and caused gynecomastia and galactorrhea in nonnursing individuals. The prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.
Alternate Drugs to Consider
1. Somogyi A, Gugler R. Cimetidine excretion into breast milk. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1979;7:627-9. Letter. PMID: 465286
2. Knigge UP. Histaminergic regulation of prolactin secretion. Dan Med Bull. 1990;37:109-24. PMID: 2188799
3. Delle Fave FG, Tamburrano G, De Magistris L et al. Gynaecomastia with cimetidine. Lancet. 1977;309:1319. PMID: 68422
4. Bateson MC, Browning MCK, Maconnachie A. Galactorrhoea with cimetidine. Lancet. 1977;310:247-8. Letter. PMID: 69853
CAS Registry Number
Histamine H2 Antagonists
LactMed Record Number
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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- Drug class: H2 antagonists