Tamoxifen use while Breastfeeding
Drugs containing Tamoxifen: Nolvadex, Tamoxen, Tamosin, Soltamox, Tamofen, Tamoxifen Hexal, Tamone, Emblon, Nolvadex D, Genox
Medically reviewed on Feb 21, 2019
Tamoxifen Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
Since tamoxifen can suppress postpartum lactation and its excretion into breastmilk is not known, it should be avoided in nursing mothers.
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
Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk
Tamoxifen was more effective than placebo in suppressing lactation and preventing engorgement and pain in two trials in postpartum mothers. Neither study stated what, if any, physical methods (e.g., breast binding) were used concurrently. In one study of 80 women, tamoxifen 10 mg four times daily for 5 days was more effective than placebo in suppressing a rise in serum prolactin after use of a mechanical breast pump after 5 days of treatment, but not on day 3. All of the women in the study had breastfed a previous child. The other study of 150 women used 2 regimens: tamoxifen 30 mg twice daily for 2 days followed by 10 mg twice daily for 2 days; and 10 mg twice daily for 14 days. More women in the tamoxifen groups had not previously breastfed an infant.
In a case report, a woman with a history of breastfeeding 4 children (the last having been weaned 10 months earlier) began lactating after 1 week of a cancer chemotherapy regimen for breast cancer that included tamoxifen 20 mg/day. Milk production continued for several weeks until tamoxifen was discontinued after which it did not return during 12 more weeks of chemotherapy.
1. Shaaban MM. Suppression of lactation by an antiestrogen, tamoxifen. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1975;4(5):167-9. PMID: 1053489
2. Masala A, Delitala G, Lo Dico G et al. Inhibition of lactation and inhibition of prolactin release after mechanical breast stimulation in puerperal women given tamoxifen or placebo. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1978;85:134-7. PMID: 626722
3. Favis GR, Alavi JB, Glick JH. Lactation from tamoxifen in breast cancer. Ann Intern Med. 1979;90:993-4. Letter. PMID: 220899
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