Skip to Content

Hydrocodone use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Hydrocodone: Norco, Vicodin, Lortab, Tussionex Pennkinetic, Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER, Hydromet, Hydrocodone CP, Lorcet, Vicoprofen, Show all 351 »Hycodan, Hycet, Vicodin ES, Narcof, Reprexain, Phenylephrine HD, Ibudone, Rindal-HD, Hycomine, Hydrocodone HD, Xodol, Anexsia, Lorcet 10/650, TussiCaps, Vicodin HP, Hydrocet, Hydrocodone PA Pediatric, Zamicet, Liquicet, Tussigon, Histussin HC Syrup, Zydone, Hydrocodone GF, Lorcet HD, Flowtuss, Novasus, Rezira, Nalex Expectorant, Condasin, Vortex, Tussafin Liquid, Hydrogesic, Hydrocof-HC, Deconamine CX, Hydropane, HydroFed, Levall 5.0, Chlorphen HD, Vanacet, Lortuss HC, Triant-HC, Xylon 10, Coughtuss, Histussin D, Dolacet, Entuss-D, Mintuss G, Atuss G, De-Chlor G, Ambi 5/15/100, Donatussin DC, Nazarin HC, MonteFlu HC, Nariz HC, Qual-Tussin DC, Exetuss-HC, Guiaplex HC, Gentex HC, Tussafed-HC, Duratuss HD, Crantex HC, Uni-Lev 5.0, Tussafed-HCG, Dynatuss HC, Hydro GP, Simuc-HD, Extendryl HC, S-T Forte, Endacof XP, Hydrotuss, Vitussin Expectorant, Cotuss V, Hycoclar Tuss, G-Tuss, Vicotuss, Hycosin Expectorant, Vicoclear, Hycoclear, Co-Tuss V Expectorant, Fentuss Expectorant, Codotuss, Co-Tussin, Vi-Q-Tuss, Kwelcof, Propatuss Expectorant, Gua HC, Hydrocod-GF, Relasin-HCX, Atuss HX, A-Cof DH, Tussicle, Monte-G HC, Z-Cof HCX, Canges-XP, Hydro-Tussin HG, Decotuss-HD, Xpect-HC, Medcodin, Touro HC, Pancof XP, Execof, Tusso-DF, Pneumotussin, Entuss, Pneumotussin 2.5, Entuss-D JR, Hycomine Compound, Vanex Expectorant, Protuss, De-Chlor NX, Hydron EX, Procof, Atuss EX, Entuss Expectorant, Marcof Expectorant, Prolex DH, KGS-HC, Hypamine, Hycophen Pediatric, Hycophen, Hycomine Pediatric, Codamine Pediatric, Codamine, Poly Hist HC, Hy-KXP, Hydron KGS, Trimal DH, Entuss-D Liquid, Detussin, Liquituss HD, SymTan, Pancof HC, ColdCough HCM, H-C Tussive D, Histinex D, Mintuss NX, Iotussin D Liquid, Hytussin, P-V-Tussin, Tussgen, Tussafin, Procof D, Protuss-D, Tussplex, Mintuss MR, Tussadur-HD, Spantuss HD, Dynex HD, Hydro-Tuss XP, Drituss HD, Hytussin Expectorant, Su-Tuss HD Elixir, Vanacon, Medtuss HD, Pseudatex HC, KG-Tuss HD, Hydrotussin HD, Poly-Tussin XP, SRC Expectorant, Tussgen Expectorant, Detussin Expectorant, Tussend Expectorant, Entex HC, Hycofenix, De-Chlor MR, PhendaCof Plus, Codituss DH, Hydrophene DH, Codal-DH Syrup, Hyco-DH, Dicomal-DH, Hycomal DH, Nalex-DH, Hycotuss Expectorant, Tusdec-HC, Vetuss HC Syrup, Ru-Tuss with Hydrocodone, Rolatuss with Hydrocodone, Vantrela ER, Hydromide, Hydrotropine, Pneumotussin HC, Rindal HPD, Vicodin Tuss, HyTan, Efasin-HD, Ed-TLC, Iodal HD, Chemdal HD, Endagen-HD, Vituz, S-T Forte 2, Mintuss MS, Z-Tuss 2, Mintex HC, Histex HC, Tri-Vent HC, Max HC, Excof-SF, Donatussin MAX, Guiaphen HD, Vanex-HD, J-Tan D HC, Endotuss-HD, Tuss-HC, Comtussin HC, Enplus-HD, Endal-HD Plus, Exo-Tuss, Chemtussin HC, Ditussin-HC, KG-Dal HD, Chemdal HD Plus, Tuss-PD, Hyphen-HD, Cyndal HD, Ed-Tuss HC, Chlorgest HD, Iotussin HC, Nasatuss, Excof, SymTan A, Maxi-Tuss SA, Panacet, Anolor DH5, Theracodophen Low 90, Zolvit, Zyfrel, Dolagesic, Maxidone, Stagesic, Hy-Phen, Alor 5/500, Lorcet Plus, T-Gesic, Margesic H, Duradyne DHC, Duocet, Co-Gesic, Verdrocet, Azdone, Panasal 5/500, Brovex HC, M-END, Endacof HC, Bromcomp HC, Visvex, Bromph HD, Bromplex HD, Anaplex HD, Drocon-CS, Canges-HC, Damason-P, VazoTuss HC, FluTuss HC, Canges-HC NR, BPM PE HC, VasoTuss HC, Tusnel-HC, Lortab ASA, Ventuss Syrup, Maxi-Tuss HC, Execlear, A-G Tussin, Atuss HD, Cordron-HC NR, Cordron-HC, Hydron PCS, Hydrotuss HC, P-V-Tussin Syrup, KG-Tussin, Q-V Tussin, Cytuss-HC NR, Tussin-V, Hyphed, Hexatussin, Welltuss HC, Tussend, Pediatex HC, JayCof-HC, Atuss HS, H-C Tussive-NR, Detuss, Dytan-HC, Tusso-HC, Ztuss ZT, EndaCof-Tab, Maxi-Tuss HCG, CodiCLEAR DH, Obredon, D-Tann HC, Gestuss-HC, Zotex HC, Tussinate, Endal HD, Hydro-DP, Hydex PD, EndaCof-Plus, Notuss PD, Codimal DH, Histinex PV, Notuss, Histinex HC, Quindal HD Plus, Hydro-PC II, B-Tuss, Tussive HC, Liquitussin HC Syrup, Duradal HD, Hi-Tuss HC, Quindal HD, Efasin-HD Plus, De-Chlor HD, Tuss-DS, Cytuss HC, Histussin HC Liquid, H-C Tussive, Uni Tuss HC, Highland HC, KG-Dal HD Plus, Hydron CP, De-Chlor HC, Notuss-Forte, Poly-Tussin HD, Zutripro, Relacon-HC, Maxi-Tuss HCX, Z-Cof HC, DroTuss-CP, Relasin-HC, Liquicough HC, Neo HC, Atuss MS, Tusana-D, Relacon-HC NR, Phendal-HD, Echotuss-HC, Rindal HD Plus, Uni-Tricof HC, Hydro-PC II Plus, Zymine HC

Medically reviewed on July 2, 2018

Hydrocodone Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Hydrocodone is a opioid narcotic. Benzhydrocodone is a hydrocodone prodrug that is rapidly converted into hydrocodone in the gastrointestinal tract. Maternal use of oral narcotics during breastfeeding can cause infant drowsiness, central nervous system depression and even death. Newborn infants seem to be particularly sensitive to the effects of even small dosages of narcotic analgesics. Once the mother's milk comes in, it is best to provide pain control with a nonnarcotic analgesic and limit maternal intake of oral hydrocodone to a few days at a maximum dosage of 30 mg daily with close infant monitoring. If the baby shows signs of increased sleepiness (more than usual), difficulty breastfeeding, breathing difficulties, or limpness, a physician should be contacted immediately.

Drug Levels

Hydrocodone is metabolized to 6 active metabolites, including hydromorphone.

Maternal Levels. Two hospitalized mothers were taking hydrocodone and acetaminophen combination for pain and pumped their milk for their nonhospitalized infants. They donated samples of their pumped milk for analysis of hydrocodone. One mother had 17 milk hydrocodone levels measured over 4 days while taking first 10 mg and then 5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate as needed, beginning on day 7 postpartum. Her milk hydrocodone levels ranged from 8.6 to 127.3 mcg/L. The second mother had 5 milk hydrocodone levels measured over 1.5 days while taking 5 mg doses of hydrocodone bitartrate. Her milk hydrocodone levels ranged from 5.2 to 47.2 mcg/L, beginning at day 16 postpartum. Their infants received an estimated 3.1 and 3.7% of the maternal weight-adjusted dosages, but the absolute hydrocodone dosages were 8.58 mcg/kg and 3.07 mcg/kg daily because of the differences in the dosages ingested by their mothers.[1]

A study of 30 postpartum women taking a hydrocodone-containing product for postpartum pain measured hydrocodone and hydromorphone in breastmilk. Milk samples were collected after lactogenesis II was judged to have occurred, usually starting on the third postpartum day. Mean and median maternal dosages of hydrocodone base were 175 and 145 mcg/kg daily, respectively (range 44.3 to 423.2 mcg/kg daily). The mean and median milk hydrocodone concentrations were 25.9 and 14.2 mcg/L, respectively. Only 12 of the 30 women had hydromorphone detectable (>1 mcg/L) in their milk with a median milk hydromorphone concentration of 1.9 mcg/L. Mean and median infant daily dosages of hydrocodone were 3.9 and 2.1 mcg/kg, respectively, which were equal to 2.4 and 1.6% of the weight-adjusted maternal dosage, respectively. Mean and median infant dosage of hydromorphone were 2.1 and 0.3 mcg/kg daily, respectively. Two women excreted much more hydromorphone into their milk than the others and might represent ultrarapid CYP2D6 metabolizers. Taking the two narcotics' potencies into account, a fully breastfed neonate would receive a mean and median of 1.5 and 0.7% of the minimum infant therapeutic opiate dosage; however, neonates might be more susceptible to the opiates than the older infants on whom these dosages were based. The authors concluded that maternal dosages of hydrocodone bitartrate up to 30 to 35 mg daily are unlikely to adversely affect breastfed neonates, but that prolonged use of dosages over 40 mg daily should be avoided during breastfeeding.[2]

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

Effects in Breastfed Infants

The 18-day-old infant of a breastfeeding mother became groggy and "slept for most of the day" while the mother was taking 20 mg of oral hydrocodone combined with 1300 mg of acetaminophen every 4 hours for painful nipple candidiasis and mastitis. The mother decreased her dose by one-half and the infant apparently no longer experienced grogginess or hypersomnolence.[3] The infant's symptoms were probably due to the maternal hydrocodone.

A 5-week-old breastfed infant became cyanotic and required mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and intubation. The infant's urine was positive for opioids and the infant responded positively to naloxone; the level of consciousness improved over 2 days and extubation was accomplished. The infant's mother admitted to taking a hydrocodone-acetaminophen combination product and methadone that had been prescribed for migraine headache before she was breastfeeding.[4] The infant's symptoms were probably due to the maternal opiate use.

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Narcotics can increase serum prolactin.[5] However, the prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.

Alternate Drugs to Consider

Acetaminophen, Butorphanol, Hydromorphone, Ibuprofen, Morphine


1. Anderson PO, Sauberan J, Lane JR, Rossi SS. Hydrocodone excretion into breastmilk: the first two reported cases. Breastfeed Med 2007;2:10-4. PMID: 17661614

2. Sauberan JB, Anderson PO, Lane JR et al. Breast milk hydrocodone and hydromorphone levels in mothers using hydrocodone for postpartum pain. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;117:611-7. PMID: 21343764

3. Bodley V, Powers D. Long-term treatment of a breastfeeding mother with fluconazole-resolved nipple pain caused by yeast: a case study. J Hum Lact. 1997;13:307-11. PMID: 9429366

4. Meyer D, Tobias JD. Adverse effects following the inadvertent administration of opioids to infants and children. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2005;44:499-503. PMID: 16015396

5. Tolis G, Dent R, Guyda H. Opiates, prolactin, and the dopamine receptor. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1978;47:200-3. PMID: 263291

Hydrocodone Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Analgesics, Opioid


Antitussive Agents

Administrative Information

LactMed Record Number



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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.