Thursday, January 7, 2010

Breastfeeding and OTC drugs

Labels can be helpful, but when it comes to pregnancy and breastfeeding, there's more to the story than meets the eye. Manufacturers must follow guidelines, including drug testing, in order to make claims of safety on their labels. If in doubt, due to lack of the usual scientific process for testing, they take the safest route and advise against using a drug while pregnant or lactating, unless advised by a physician. This does not mean they are not safe; just not tested in the usual way. Some medications are clearly to be avoided, but it can be hard to decide.

We advocate avoiding medication in pregnancy when possible but sometimes the maternal conditions require it and then the risks and benefits are weighed. Sometimes, breastfeeding mothers feel they must pump and dump if they use medications that have a caution on the label. There are resources to help you to know if this is truly necessary. Tom Hale, author of Medications ;and Mother's Milk says,
"There are very few over-the-counter drugs that require a mom to pump and dump.

High dose iodine is one. Tavist is another. Anything containing high doses of caffeine should be avoided. High doses of zinc should be avoided. "
Books for reference:
Medications and Mother's Milk by Tom Hale has a list of OTC products. Frank Nice also has a book, Nonprescription Drugs for the Breastfeeding Mother, with a complete list of virtually all OTC products and recommendations.

Locally, you can call the Pregnancy Risk Line for information about a specific drug you wonder about in either pregnancy or lactation. (801) 328-2229 or (800) 822-2229 Best Blogger Tips

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