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Breast Feeding

Breastfeeding and Norvasc

11/14/1999

Question:

My dr. is prescribing Norvasc for blood pressure. I`ve received contradictory information regarding the safety of taking this drug while breastfeeding my 5 month old infant. Is it safe?

Answer:

There is no research currently available on the transfer of Norvasc into breast milk and Norvasc has not been reviewed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), according to Thomas Hale, RPh, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and of Pharmacology at Texas Tech University (1999). However, it is believed that Norvasc would transfer readily, because most calcium channel blockers do so. With the probability of high transport into breast milk and Norvasc`s long duration of action, Dr. Hale recommends caution if a mother takes it while breastfeeding. Concerns for the baby with prolonged exposure to Norvasc might include a lowering of the baby`s heart rate (bradycardia) and a lowering of the baby`s blood pressure (hypotension).

There are several antihypertensive medications that are AAP approved for use during breastfeeding, including the calcium channel blocker Procardia/Adalat (Nifedipine) and several of the beta blockers. Many mothers have breastfed while taking an antihypertensive medication, and it is reasonable to want to continue to provide your baby with the perfect nutrition and the antibodies in your milk while also receiving treatment for high blood pressure. Your physician might have a particular reason to prescribe Norvasc, so you will want to discuss the use of Norvasc versus using an another medication that is considered of less risk for your breastfeeding baby. Perhaps it would help to include your baby`s pediatric care provider in any discussion.

The best to you and your baby.

References:

1. Hale, TW (1999). Medications and mothers` milk (8th ed.). Amarillo, TX: Pharmasoft Medical Publishing. 2. Hale, TW (1999). Clinical therapy in breastfeeding patients. Amarillo, TX: Pharmasoft Medical Publishing.

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Response by:

Karen Kerkhoff Gromada, MSN, RN, IBCLC
Adjunct Clinical Instructor
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati