Hydrocortisone, Topical use while Breastfeeding
Medically reviewed on March 12, 2018
Hydrocortisone, Topical Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
Topical hydrocortisone has not been studied during breastfeeding. Since only extensive application of the most potent corticosteroids may cause systemic effects in the mother, it is unlikely that short-term application of topical hydrocortisone would pose a risk to the breastfed infant by passage into breastmilk. However, it would be prudent to use the least potent drug on the smallest area of skin possible. It is particularly important to ensure that the infant's skin does not come into direct contact with the areas of skin that have been treated. Only water-miscible cream or gel products should be applied to the breast because ointments may expose the infant to high levels of mineral paraffins via licking. Any topical corticosteroid should be wiped off thoroughly prior to nursing if it is being applied to the breast or nipple area. Maternal use rectally with a cream or by suppository poses very little risk to the breastfed infant.
Maternal Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Effects in Breastfed Infants
Topical application of a corticosteroid with relatively high mineralocorticoid activity (isofluprednone acetate) to the mother's nipples resulted in prolonged QT interval, cushingoid appearance, severe hypertension, decreased growth and electrolyte abnormalities in her 2-month-old breastfed infant. The mother had used the cream since birth for painful nipples.
Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk
Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
1. Noti A, Grob K, Biedermann M et al. Exposure of babies to C(15)-C(45) mineral paraffins from human milk and breast salves. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2003;38(3):317-25. PMID: 14623482
2. De Stefano B, Bongo IG, Borgna-Pignatti C et al. Factitious hypertension with mineralocorticoid excess in an infant. Helv Paediatr Acta. 1983;38:185-9. PMID: 6874387
Hydrocortisone, Topical Identification
CAS Registry Number
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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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