Skip to Content

Hydrocodone use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Hydrocodone: Norco, Vicodin, Lortab, Tussionex Pennkinetic, Hycodan, Hydromet, Hysingla ER, Vicoprofen, Lorcet, Zohydro ER, Show all 350 »Narcof, Hycet, Lorcet 10/650, Vicodin ES, Tussigon, Anexsia, Relasin-HC, Lorcet Plus, TussiCaps, Vicodin HP, Vortex, Stagesic, Histussin HC Syrup, Zamicet, Zutripro, Maxidone, Flowtuss, Hyphed, Histinex HC, Hycomine, Xodol, Chlorgest HD, Hycophen, Ibudone, Notuss, Detuss, Vituz, Triant-HC, Novasus, Chemtussin HC, Hydrocodone HD, Hydrotropine, Reprexain, Hydropane, Lortuss HC, Procof, Rezira, Hydromide, Condasin, Obredon, Hydex PD, CodiCLEAR DH, Hycotuss Expectorant, Kwelcof, Tussend, Rindal HPD, Duocet, Azdone, M-END, Vanacet, Zolvit, Hydrocet, Qual-Tussin DC, Nariz HC, MonteFlu HC, Dynatuss HC, HydroFed, Nazarin HC, Exetuss-HC, Guiaplex HC, Crantex HC, Uni-Lev 5.0, Duratuss HD, Simuc-HD, Donatussin DC, Gentex HC, Tussafed-HCG, Entuss-D JR, KG-Tuss HD, Hydrotussin HD, Entuss-D, Medtuss HD, Spantuss HD, Tussafin Liquid, Su-Tuss HD Elixir, Vanacon, Poly-Tussin XP, Deconamine CX, Tussadur-HD, Vanex Expectorant, Decotuss-HD, Tussend Expectorant, Detussin Expectorant, Nalex Expectorant, SRC Expectorant, Tussgen Expectorant, De-Chlor G, Levall 5.0, Entuss, Pneumotussin 2.5, Medcodin, Pneumotussin, Tusso-DF, Pancof XP, Execof, Hydrocod-GF, Hycoclear, Hycoclar Tuss, G-Tuss, Vicotuss, Cotuss V, Vitussin Expectorant, Gua HC, Hydrotuss, Touro HC, Xpect-HC, Mintuss G, S-T Forte, Relasin-HCX, Atuss G, Ambi 5/15/100, Hytussin Expectorant, Tussafed-HC, A-Cof DH, Tussicle, Extendryl HC, Atuss HX, Hydro-Tussin HG, Canges-XP, Monte-G HC, Z-Cof HCX, Hydro GP, Entex HC, Hydron EX, Atuss EX, Entuss Expectorant, De-Chlor NX, Hy-KXP, Hydron KGS, KGS-HC, Marcof Expectorant, Protuss, Hycomine Pediatric, Codamine Pediatric, Codamine, Hycophen Pediatric, Hypamine, Prolex DH, Hydrocodone PA Pediatric, Mintuss NX, Protuss-D, SymTan, Pancof HC, ColdCough HCM, Liquituss HD, Detussin, Zymine HC, Histussin D, H-C Tussive D, Entuss-D Liquid, Tussgen, Tussafin, Procof D, P-V-Tussin, Hytussin, Histinex D, Iotussin D Liquid, Poly Hist HC, Tussplex, T-Gesic, Zydone, Lorcet HD, Margesic H, Hydrogesic, Co-Gesic, Duradyne DHC, Hy-Phen, Panacet, Hycosin Expectorant, Dynex HD, Hydro-Tuss XP, Pseudatex HC, Hycofenix, Dolagesic, Zyfrel, Xylon 10, Rolatuss with Hydrocodone, Hydrophene DH, Codal-DH Syrup, Hyco-DH, Codituss DH, De-Chlor MR, Trimal DH, Mintuss MR, Dicomal-DH, Hycomal DH, Verdrocet, Vetuss HC Syrup, Ru-Tuss with Hydrocodone, Tusdec-HC, Phenylephrine HD, PhendaCof Plus, Nalex-DH, Drituss HD, Vicoclear, Maxi-Tuss HC, Maxi-Tuss SA, Ventuss Syrup, Coughtuss, KG-Dal HD Plus, H-C Tussive, Uni Tuss HC, Highland HC, Tuss-HC, Comtussin HC, Endotuss-HD, KG-Dal HD, Tuss-PD, Ditussin-HC, Exo-Tuss, Enplus-HD, Endal-HD Plus, Histussin HC Liquid, Cytuss HC, Hydro-PC II, B-Tuss, Tussive HC, Hydron CP, De-Chlor HD, Atuss MS, De-Chlor HC, Hydrocodone CP, Liquitussin HC Syrup, Quindal HD Plus, Efasin-HD Plus, Tuss-DS, Quindal HD, Hi-Tuss HC, Duradal HD, Chlorphen HD, Hyphen-HD, Cyndal HD, Bromcomp HC, Endacof HC, Brovex HC, Visvex, Hydrocodone GF, HyTan, S-T Forte 2, Z-Tuss 2, Mintex HC, Donatussin MAX, Excof, J-Tan D HC, Excof-SF, Max HC, Histex HC, Tri-Vent HC, Bromph HD, Bromplex HD, Vanex-HD, Mintuss MS, Guiaphen HD, Chemdal HD Plus, Nasatuss, Ed-Tuss HC, Iotussin HC, Efasin-HD, Ed-TLC, Canges-HC, Drocon-CS, Anaplex HD, Endagen-HD, Chemdal HD, Rindal-HD, Iodal HD, Hydro-PC II Plus, Uni-Tricof HC, Gestuss-HC, Tussinate, Endal HD, Dytan-HC, D-Tann HC, Alor 5/500, Panasal 5/500, Damason-P, Hydro-DP, Hycomine Compound, Lortab ASA, H-C Tussive-NR, Cytuss-HC NR, Zotex HC, Codimal DH, EndaCof-Plus, Notuss PD, Liquicet, Anolor DH5, Co-Tussin, Vi-Q-Tuss, Propatuss Expectorant, Codotuss, Fentuss Expectorant, SymTan A, Co-Tuss V Expectorant, Pneumotussin HC, Vicodin Tuss, Maxi-Tuss HCG, Dolacet, Theracodophen Low 90, EndaCof-Tab, Ztuss ZT, Execlear, Tusso-HC, Tusnel-HC, Atuss HS, Relacon-HC, Maxi-Tuss HCX, Z-Cof HC, VazoTuss HC, FluTuss HC, BPM PE HC, Canges-HC NR, DroTuss-CP, Liquicough HC, Phendal-HD, Echotuss-HC, Rindal HD Plus, Relacon-HC NR, Tusana-D, Poly-Tussin HD, Neo HC, VasoTuss HC, Notuss-Forte, Hydron PCS, Hydrotuss HC, P-V-Tussin Syrup, Hydrocof-HC, Cordron-HC, Atuss HD, Cordron-HC NR, KG-Tussin, A-G Tussin, Pediatex HC, JayCof-HC, Histinex PV, Welltuss HC, Hexatussin, Q-V Tussin, Tussin-V, Endacof XP

Hydrocodone Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

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


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.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Online Privacy Policy.