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Perphenazine use while Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 12, 2023.

Drugs containing Perphenazine: Trilafon, Triavil, Duo-Vil, Etrafon, Etrafon Forte

Perphenazine Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Limited information indicates that maternal doses of perphenazine up to 24 mg daily produce low levels in milk. Very limited long-term follow-up data indicate no adverse developmental effects when other phenothiazines are used alone. Monitor the infant for excessive drowsiness during breastfeeding and for developmental milestones, especially if other antipsychotics are used concurrently.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Steady-state perphenazine milk levels were measured in one woman while she was taking perphenazine at two different dosages. At a dose of 12 mg every 12 hours (480 mcg/kg daily) the drug concentration in a 24-hour milk collection was 3.2 mcg/L. At a dose of 8 mg every 12 hours, the average milk concentration in each of two 12-hour collection periods was 2.1 mcg/L. Milk was collected at this dosage in three 4-hour collection periods. Levels in fractionated 4-hour periods were as follows: 0 to 4 hours: 1.8 mcg/L; 4 to 8 hours: 3.1 mcg/L; and 8 to 12 hours: 2 mcg/L. The authors calculated that the breastfed infant would receive 0.1% of the maternal weight-adjusted dosage.[1]

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

Effects in Breastfed Infants

One infant was breastfed from 1 month to 4.5 months of age during maternal intake of perphenazine 16 mg daily. The infant grew normally and no adverse drug effects were seen.[1]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Galactorrhea has been reported with perphenazine.[2,3] Hyperprolactinemia appears to be the cause of the galactorrhea.[4-6] The hyperprolactinemia is caused by the drug's dopamine-blocking action in the tuberoinfundibular pathway. [7][7] The prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.

Alternate Drugs to Consider

Haloperidol, Olanzapine, Quetiapine, Risperidone


Olesen OV, Bartels U, Poulsen JH. Perphenazine in breast milk and serum. Am J Psychiatry. 1990;147:1378–9. [PubMed: 2400007]
Basler RS, Lynch PJ. Black galactorrhea as a consequence of minocycline and phenothiazine therapy. Arch Dermatol. 1985;121:417–8. [PubMed: 4038862]
Hooper JH Jr, Welch VC, Shackelford RT. Abnormal lactation associated with tranquilizing drug therapy. JAMA. 1961;178:506–7. [PubMed: 14448766]
Turkington RW. Prolactin secretion in patients treated with various drugs: Phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants, reserpine, and methyldopa. Arch Intern Med. 1972;130:349–54. [PubMed: 4560178]
Turkington RW. Serum prolactin levels in patients with gynecomastia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1972;34:62–6. [PubMed: 5061776]
Meltzer HY, Fang VS. The effect of neuroleptics on serum prolactin in schizophrenic patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33:279–86. [PubMed: 1259521]
Maguire GA. Prolactin elevation with antipsychotic medications: Mechanisms of action and clinical consequences. J Clin Psychiatry. 2002;63 Suppl 4:56–62. [PubMed: 11913677]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Milk, Human

Antipsychotic Agents


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Further information

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