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Safety of infant exposure to antidepressants and benzodiazepines through breastfeeding

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 antidepressant medications that are used to treat postpartum depression and other disorders in lactating mothers [1-3].

This topic reviews the safety of infant exposure to antidepressants and benzodiazepines through breastfeeding. The safety of anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, lithium, stimulants, and medications for substance use disorders 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 "Breastfeeding infants: Safety of exposure to antipsychotics, lithium, stimulants, and medications for substance use disorders".)

(See "Infant benefits of breastfeeding".)

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