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Antidepressants in Breast Milk.

Many drugs enter a lactating woman's milk. Their nursing infant is then exposed to the drug and, in some cases, may experience effects from the drug. A small study (16 nursing infants and 108 samples of breast milk) evaluated how much of Paxil, a drug in the SSRI class of antidepressants, taken by the women enters their breast milk.

Paxil, a drug frequently prescribed for depression, does enter breast milk. In this study, the breast milk contained Paxil concentrations ranging from 2 to 101 nanograms per milliliter. The analysis of the infants' blood Paxil levels were all below the detectable level of 2 nanograms/milliliter. This means that even though Paxil was found in the breast milk, there wasn't enough to result in detectable levels in the infant's blood.

Despite these reassuring results, the researchers expressed caution. According to Zachary N. Stowe, M.D. of Emory University, this study "further extends the rapidly accumulating data on the relative safety of SSRIs during lactation." He expressed a warning: "The clinical significance of chronic SSRI exposure on neurobehavioral development remains an unknown."

Family Practice News, 3/15/00, p. 58.

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Title Annotation:Paxil contamination in breast milk
Publication:Pediatrics for Parents
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 1999
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