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Breastfeeding infants: Safety of exposure to antipsychotics, lithium, stimulants, and medications for substance use disorders

Mary C Kimmel, MD
Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH
Section Editors
Peter P Roy-Byrne, MD
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deputy Editor
David Solomon, MD


The benefits of breastfeeding generally appear to outweigh the small risk posed by psychotropic medications that are used to treat postpartum mental disorders in lactating mothers [1,2].

This topic reviews the safety of antipsychotics, lithium, and medications for substance use disorders in breastfeeding infants. The safety of anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines in breastfeeding infants; benefits of lactation; education of parents about breastfeeding; and initiation of breastfeeding are discussed separately, as is choosing a specific drug for treating postpartum psychiatric disorders.

(See "Management of epilepsy and pregnancy", section on 'Breast feeding'.)

(See "Safety of infant exposure to antidepressants and benzodiazepines through breastfeeding".)

(See "Infant benefits of breastfeeding".)

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 15, 2017.
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