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Halothane use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Halothane: Fluothane

Medically reviewed on April 11, 2017.

Halothane Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

There is no published experience with halothane anesthesia during breastfeeding. Various recommendations have been made regarding breastfeeding after halothane anesthesia, from discarding the first pumping after recovery to discarding breastmilk for 24 to 48 hours after the surgical procedure.[2][3] Although withholding breastfeeding for 24 h is probably unnecessary, an alternate anesthetic may be preferred, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm infant. In one study, breastfeeding before general anesthesia induction reduced requirements of sevoflurane and propofol compared to those of nursing mothers whose breastfeeding was withheld or nonnursing women.[1] It is possible that requirements for other anesthetic agents would be affected similarly.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels.Foremilk samples taken on two occasions from a practicing anesthesiologist after administering halothane anesthesia in the operating room contained from 630 mcg/L to 2.1 mg/L (0.63-2.1 ppm) of halothane.[2] These values were higher than air samples from the operating room, but may be underestimates because of sampling techniques. The amount of halothane in the milk of women undergoing halothane anesthesia has not been studied.

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

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

Alternate Drugs to Consider

Desflurane, Enflurane, Isoflurane, Sevoflurane


1. Bhaskara B, Dayananda VP, Kannan S et al. Effect of breastfeeding on haemodynamics and consumption of propofol and sevoflurane: A state entropy guided comparative study. Indian J Anaesth. 2016;60:180-6. PMID: 27053781

2. Cote CJ, Kenepp NB, Reed SB, Strobel GE. Trace concentrations of halothane in human breast milk. Br J Anaesth. 1976;48:541-3. PMID: 986147

3. Hale TW. Anesthetic medications in breastfeeding mothers. J Hum Lact. 1999;15:185-94. PMID: 10578796

Halothane Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Anesthetics, Inhalation

Administrative Information

LactMed Record Number



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Further information

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