Hydrocortisone use while Breastfeeding
Drugs containing Hydrocortisone: Anusol-HC, Proctozone HC, Cortisporin Otic, Proctosol-HC, Cortef, Westcort, Anucort-HC, Analpram-HC, Cortisporin-TC, Solu-Cortef, Show all 239 »Proctocort, Proctofoam HC, Locoid, Cortizone-10, Vytone, Pramosone, Hytone, Locoid Lipocream, Cipro HC, Alcortin A, Anusol-HC Suppositories, Xerese, Hemorrhoidal HC, Hydrocortisone 1% In Absorbase, Cortenema, Cortisporin Ophthalmic Suspension, Antibiotic Ear, Proctocream-HC, Coly-Mycin S, Acetasol HC, Cortaid, Alcortin, AnaMantle HC, Cortifoam, Analpram Advanced, Cortizone-10 Anal Itch Cream, HC Pramoxine, Novacort, Encort, Procto-Pak 1%, Proctozone-H, Dermasorb HC, Hydrocortone, Ana-Lex, Aquanil HC, Scalpicin, Vosol HC, Analpram E, Coraz, Dermasorb AF, Ketocon+Plus, Colocort, Otomar HC, Cortisporin Ointment, Hysone, Pramcort, Ala-Quin, Hydrocort cream, Pandel, Tucks Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Ointment, Procort, Rectacort-HC, Aqua Glycolic HC, Aeroseb-HC, Cortane, Texacort, Ala-Cort, GRx HiCort 25, Hemril-HC Uniserts, Anurx-HC, Rederm, Neo-Polycin HC, Triple Antibiotic HC Ophthalmic Ointment, Hemmorex-HC, ProctoCare-HC, Lipsovir, Xyralid RC, Earsol-HC, Dermazene, Xyralid, Preparation H Anti-Itch Cream Hydrocortisone 1%, Proctosert HC, Hycort, Caldecort, Anusol HC-1, Aloe Cort, Recort Plus, Hydrocortisone with Aloe, Hemril-30, Nupercainal HC 1%, Genasone/Aloe, Cortaid with Aloe, Penecort, IvDerm, Cyotic, Exotic-HC, Cortisporin Cream, Cortamox, Otobiotic, Cortane-B Lotion, Dek-Quin, Zone-A, Zoto-HC Drops, Cortane-B, Trioxin, Cortisporin Ophthalmic Ointment, Vanoxide-HC, Lodocort Aloe, Lidazone HC, AnaMantle HC Forte, Xyralid LP, BP Ana-Lex HC, Uremol HC, Xolegel CorePak, Oti-Sone, Cort-Biotic, Nutracort, Dermarest Eczema Medicated, Cortaid Maximum Strength, Cortaid Intensive Therapy, U-Cort, Cortizone-10 Plus, Dermtex HC, Anuzone HC, NuZon, Procto-Med HC, Cortalo with Aloe, Monistat Soothing Care Itch Relief Cream, NuCort with Aloe, Senatec HC, Gynecort Maximum Strength, Instacort, Lidocort, Cortatrigen Modified, Otocort Sterile Solution, Otimar, Pediotic, Masporin Otic, Otocort Sterile Suspension, Zypram, Enzone, Pramosone E, Epifoam, Hydropram, Rectocort HC, Zone-A Forte, Drotic, AK-Spore HC Otic Suspension, LidaMantle HC Relief, Massengill Medicated Soft Cloth, Rectacreme HC, LidaMantle HC, Peranex HC, Cortatrigen, Scalacort DK, HC Pram, Cortomycin, UAD Otic, Neo/PolyB/HC, Cortomycin Suspension, RectaGel HC, Keratol HC, Pedi-Cort V, 1 Plus 1 F, HC-Derma-Pax, Vio-Tex-HC, Steroform, Pramox-HC, Corque, Iodo-HC, FIRST Duke's Mouthwash, FIRST Mary's Mouthwash, Ala-Scalp, NuCort, Cort-Dome High Potency, MD Hydrocortisone, Carmol HC, Hydrocortone Phosphate, A-Hydrocort, Vagisil Satin Anti-Itch Creme, Hydro Ear, Aero Otic HC, Neotricin HC, MyOxin, Bencort, Ocu-Cort, Neo-Poly-Bac, Vasotate HC, Oticot HC, Cortomycin Eye Ointment, Ophthocort, Mantadil, Zolene HC, Otirx, Cortic-ND, Tri-Otic, Oto-End, Oticin HC, Otozone, Cetacort, Dermacort, Nogenic HC, Sarnol-HC, Scalp-Aid, Hi-Cor, Gly-Cort, Dermol HC, Dermolate, Scalacort, Cort-Dome, Instacort 10, Cortizone-5, Cortizone for Kids, Neutrogena T-Scalp, Dermarest Plus Anti-Itch, Bioelements Immediate Comfort, Scalp-Cort, Beta HC, Ivocort, Pediaderm HC, Delcort, Anumed-HC, Cotacort, Lacticare-HC, Rectasol-HC, Anuprep-HC, Cortizone-10 Intensive Healing Formula, Procto-Kit 1%, Procto-Kit 2.5%, Orabase HCA, Ala-Scalp HP, Itch-X Lotion, Corticaine, Corticreme, Blue-Emu Anti-Itch Cream, Acticort 100, Anutone-HC, Anusert HC-1, Dermarest Dricort
Hydrocortisone Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
Hydrocortisone (cortisol) is a normal component of breastmilk that passes from the mother's bloodstream into milk. Hydrocortisone has not been studied in breastmilk after exogenous administration in pharmacologic amounts. Hydrocortisone in breastmilk is stable at room temperature and during repeated freeze-thaw cycles.
Although it is unlikely that dangerous amounts of hydrocortisone would reach the infant, a better studied alternate corticosteroid might be preferred. Maternal use of hydrocortisone as an enema would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants. Local maternal injections, such as for tendinitis, would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants, but might occasionally cause temporary loss of milk supply. See also Hydrocortisone, Topical.
Numerous methods have been used to measure cortisol in milk. Some have measured only unconjugated cortisol and others have hydrolyzed sulfate and glucuronide conjugates to measure total cortisol. Neonates are unable to deconjugate these moieties, so the age of the infant affects the relevance of findings.
Maternal Levels. Cortisol was measured in the colostrum and milk of 11 women monthly for up to 12 months postpartum. Levels in late pregnancy averaged 24.5 mcg/L and fell over the first 10 days postpartum to an average of 1.8 mcg/L. Milk cortisol levels between months 2 and 12 averaged 7.2 mcg/L, but varied with time and among individuals (range 0.2 to 32 mcg/L).
Free cortisol was measured in 13 women on days 1, 2, and 3 postpartum (7 spontaneous births) or days 3, 4, and 5 postpartum (6 elective cesarean sections). Milk levels were measured before and after nursing, but the values were not statistically different. In the women with spontaneous deliveries, before and after milk levels averaged 17.2 mcg/L on day 1, 16.8 mcg/L on day 2, and 7.4 mcg/L on day 3 postpartum. In the women with cesarean deliveries, before and after milk levels averaged 26.5 mcg/L on day 3, 15.1 mcg/L on day 4, and 14.1 mcg/L on day 6 postpartum.
Thirteen full-term mothers donated milk between 8 and 28 weeks postpartum. Unconjugated cortisol concentrations ranged from 1.45 to 8.34 mcg/L. Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Effects in Breastfed Infants
None reported with any systemic corticosteroid.
Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk
Published information on the effects of hydrocortisone on serum prolactin or on lactation in nursing mothers was not found as of the revision date. However, medium to large doses of depot corticosteroids injected into joints have been reported to cause temporary reduction of lactation.
A study of 46 women who delivered an infant before 34 weeks of gestation found that a course of another corticosteroid (betamethasone, 2 intramuscular injections of 11.4 mg of betamethasone 24 hours apart) given between 3 and 9 days before delivery resulted in delayed lactogenesis II and lower average milk volumes during the 10 days after delivery. Milk volume was not affected if the infant was delivered less than 3 days or more than 10 days after the mother received the corticosteroid. An equivalent dosage regimen of hydrocortisone might have the same effect.
A study of 87 pregnant women found that betamethasone given as above during pregnancy caused a premature stimulation of lactose secretion during pregnancy. Although the increase was statistically significant, the clinical importance appears to be minimal. An equivalent dosage regimen of hydrocortisone might have the same effect.
Alternate Drugs to Consider
1. van der Voorn B, Martens F, Peppelman NS et al. Determination of cortisol and cortisone in human mother's milk. Clin Chim Acta. 2015;444:154-5. PMID: 25687161
2. Kulski JK, Hartmann PE. Changes in the concentration of cortisol in milk during different stages of human lactation. Aust J Exp Biol Med Sci. 1981;59 (Pt 6):769-78. PMID: 7340774
3. Patacchiolo FR, Cigliana G, Cilumbriello A et al. Maternal plasma and milk free cortisol during the first 3 days of breast-feeding following spontaneous delivery or elective cesarean section. Gynecol Obstet Investig. 1992;34:159-63. PMID: 1427417
4. McGuire E . Sudden loss of milk supply following high-dose triamcinolone (Kenacort) injection. Breastfeed Rev. 2012;20:32-4. PMID: 22724311
5. Babwah TJ, Nunes P, Maharaj RG. An unexpected temporary suppression of lactation after a local corticosteroid injection for tenosynovitis. Eur J Gen Pract. 2013;19:248-50. PMID: 24261425
6. Henderson JJ, Hartmann PE, Newnham JP, Simmer K. Effect of preterm birth and antenatal corticosteroid treatment on lactogenesis ii in women. Pediatrics. 2008;121:e92-100. PMID: 18166549
7. Henderson JJ, Newnham JP, Simmer K, Hartmann PE. Effects of antenatal corticosteroids on urinary markers of the initiation of lactation in pregnant women. Breastfeed Med. 2009;4:201-6. PMID: 19772378
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