It is unclear if a woman who takes tamoxifen and is breastfeeding will pass the medication on to her nursing infant. However, because the medication carries the risk of potentially serious side effects, the manufacturer recommends that pregnant women not take the drug. It is known to decrease milk production in women, so if you are taking tamoxifen and breastfeeding is something you are considering, discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Tamoxifen and Breastfeeding: An Overview
It is not known if tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex®, Soltamox™) passes through breast milk. However, because of the potentially serious side effects that could occur in the nursing infant, the manufacturers of tamoxifen recommend that pregnant women not take the medication. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or thinking of starting, make sure to let your healthcare provider know.
Tamoxifen and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?
While researchers do not know if the drug passes through breast milk in humans, it is known that tamoxifen can inhibit lactation, decreasing milk production in women. The medication affects hormones; therefore, it may cause serious side effects, including certain cancers. If your healthcare provider recommends taking tamoxifen while breastfeeding, be sure to watch for any side effects in your child.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Tamoxifen and Breastfeeding
You should talk with your healthcare provider about tamoxifen and breastfeeding. Everyone's situation is different, and your healthcare provider understands your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about tamoxifen and breastfeeding that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Nolvadex [package insert]. Wilmington, DE: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals;2006 March.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed May 3, 2007.
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