Apr 23, 2003

Drug excretion into breast milk--overview

Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Shinya Ito, Amy Lee


Breastfeeding is the optimal form of infant feeding for the first months of an infant's life, and the majority of healthy women initiate breastfeeding after the birth of their infant. However, women on medication may default to formula feeding or not taking their drug therapy for fear of exposing their infant to the medication through the breast milk. Although the majority of medications are considered to be compatible with breastfeeding, cases of significant infant toxicity exist, suggesting a case by case risk assessment to be made before the mother initiates breastfeeding or drug therapy. Unfortunately, current clinical risk assessment is often compromised by the paucity of data, as studies in breastfeeding women and their infants are ethically difficult to conduct. Circumventing the ethical constraints, approaches have been proposed to estimate drug excretion into milk from physicochemical characteristics of the drug, which diffuses through the mammary gland epithelia. However, as our understanding on drug transfer mechanisms increases, it has become abundantly clear that carrier-mediated processes are involved with excretion of a number of drugs into milk. This article provides an overview of the benefits of breastfeeding,...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Mammary Gland
Fear (Mental Process)
Mathematical Formula
Toxic Effect
Lactation, Prolonged
Pharmacologic Substance
Body Excretions
Breast Feeding

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