Research frequently challenges what we assume to be true. Please discuss medication use with your health-care providers and ensure that you have current, accurate information about the use of a particular medication.
1) The lack of research
Unfortunately, drug companies are often not be interested in studying the risks of medication used by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers as this only represents a very small part of their market (Byrne 2020). To protect themselves from legal action, they often put blanket restrictions on the use of the medication (Arguello 2015).
It is therefore necessary to use other resources to make informed choices.
LactMed (NIH) is an excellent free online source of information about medication use while breastfeeding. The database is created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It has information on a huge number of medications and herbal preparations as well as suggestions for alternative medications.
MotherToBaby is a service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) and is a leading authority of evidence-based information on the safety of medications and other exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. They have online information and a no-cost information service is available via chat, text, phone, and email in both English and Spanish. They also conduct research on the safety of medications. The MotherToBaby network consists of 15 affiliates housed at universities and hospitals across the United States and Canada.
c) Infant Risk Center
The Infant Risk Center is a research centre at the Texas Tech University School of Medicine and offers advice on medication use in breastfeeding and pregnancy. They have information available on their website and on their app, Mommymeds.
E-lactancia (e-lactancia), a large online database similar to LactMed, is a project of the Association for the Promotion of Scientific and Cultural Research Into Breastfeeding (APILAM). The information is compiled by European pediatricians and pharmacists, and the project is supported by commercial sponsors and donations. The database is especially useful for finding information on herbal and non-prescription products.
e) The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
The website of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has guidelines on the following subjects (ABM):
- Contraception and Breastfeeding
- Pain medication and drugs for surgery (Analgesia and Anesthesia for the Breastfeeding Mother)
- Use of Antidepressants in Nursing Mothers
- Substance Use and Breastfeeding
- Pain medication and drug for surgery around the time of delivery (Peripartum Analgesia and Anesthesia for the Breastfeeding Mother)
Natural Medicines is a database about dietary supplements and herbal medicines. It requires a subscription.