Is It Safe To Take Allergy Medicine While Breastfeeding
Many people have heard that its not safe to take any medication while pregnant or breastfeeding. This is true for certain medications, but some allergy medications are safe during breastfeeding. There is no need to suffer through the symptoms associated with allergies while breastfeeding.;
There are three things to consider when it comes to taking allergy medications while breastfeeding:
- What effect the drug will have;
- What effect it will have on the baby
- How it might affect milk production
Always get advice from a health care provider before taking any medicine while breastfeeding. For something very minimal, health care providers will recommend saline nose or eye drops to alleviate stuffiness or itchy, dry eyes.;
Another alternative to treat allergies while nursing is allergy injections or allergen immunotherapy. According to the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters, There is no evidence of an increased risk of prescribing or continuing allergen immunotherapy for a parent while breastfeeding and no risk for the breastfed child.
For continued uncontrolled symptoms, there are also oral allergy medications that are safe to take while breastfeeding.
Use Of Antihistamines While Breastfeeding:
It is safe to use all antihistamines while breastfeeding. Only a minimal amount of these drugs pass into the breast milk; there are no serious concerns about the use of antihistamines while nursing. But you may find it useful to know detailed information about antihistamine use while breastfeeding.
- Second generation antihistamines like fexofenadine are considered safer to use compared with first-generation antihistamines like diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, and others. The reason for this is that newer antihistamines do not cause sedating effects in users. Drowsiness can be risky for anyone as it can interfere with just about any task. Imagine feeling sleepy while driving with your infant to the doctor or any such dangerous scenario. The sedating effects of antihistamines can also transfer to your breastfeeding infant. If you are concerned with this aspect of antihistamines, ask your doctor to recommend one that causes the least sedative effect. All second-generation antihistamines like fexofenadine, loratadine, cetirizine and desloratadine are non-sedating drugs.
- There are clinical studies available on first-generation antihistamines. But adequate research is not yet available for all second-generation antihistamines. Clinical research on the effects of fexofenadine during lactation is low .;
Concerns About Medication In Lactation
During the first-wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, anecdotal feedback from the Breastfeeding Network Drugs in Breastmilk service reported that breastfeeding was not discussed during video consultations;between healthcare professionals and lactating mothers, and that women only raised concerns about medicines after reading patient information leaflets. Mothers also reported delays in call backs regarding the compatibility of a drug with breastfeeding, which had not been mentioned during the consultation. A delay may have led to the mother not taking the drug immediately, or choosing not to take it at all; the mother taking an inappropriate drug and potentially exposing the baby to a drug incompatible with breastfeeding; or unnecessary interruption or cessation of breastfeeding.
A PhD study conducted in 2000 found that 28.1% of mothers who purchased a medication from a pharmacy were not asked if they were breastfeeding, and 16% were not asked about their infant feeding method before being issued with a prescription.
Health promotion and interactions with new parents present opportunities for pharmacists to promote safe and appropriate use of medicines while breastfeeding. Mothers value the availability of pharmacists and trust them to provide accurate, evidence-based information that may reinforce information their GP has provided about medicines safety in lactation.
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What Medicines Can I Take While Breastfeeding
Allergy and hay fever medicines: Antihistamines that do not make you sleepy are considered safe. Nasal sprays and eye drops are safe. Antihistamines that make you sleepy are not recommended because they may make your baby drowsy.
Antidepressants: Some antidepressants are safe. Discuss with your doctor.
Asthma medicines: Most preventers and relievers are safe. It is very important that you do not stop your asthma medicines while you are breastfeeding.
Cold and flu medicine: It is best to use steam inhalations, saline nasal sprays and decongestant nasal sprays. Avoid medicines containing pseudoephedrine.
Cough medicines: Coughs usually go away without treatment. If you do want to take cough mixture, ask your pharmacist which one is suitable. Avoid medicines containing pseudoephedrine.
Worm treatments: Most worm treatments are safe.
Sore throat medicines: Lozenges and gargles are safe. Avoid medicines containing iodine.
Always Take The Least Amount Of Medicine Possible
When taking any medication, take the least amount possible. This includes pain relievers, cold medicine, and all over-the-counter medications as well.
There are a lot of medications that are considered safe while breastfeeding even though they are passed on through breast milk. This is because the amount is so low that it does not cause any harm to the baby.
The less medicine you take, the less risky it is. Its also important to note that just because there are no scientific studies to confirm that a medication or over the counter medication is not safe does not mean that it is safe while breastfeeding.;
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Most Common Method Of Ingestion
Most discussions of allergy medication focus on antihistamines and decongestants.
I wanted to include ALL allergy medication types/options because there’s a large population of lactating parents who need more intense allergy medications to get through their seasonal allergies. However, due to time and space, I’ve decided to break this into two parts; Part one that focuses on common allergy meds, and Part two, less common medications for allergies.
My Allergies And Asthma Really Get Me Down What Medicines Can I Safely Take While Im Breastfeeding
When illnesses get you down, youll have a hard time maintaining a good milk supply and taking care of your baby. Its good to do something about your symptoms, rather than thinking you must suffer through them because you are breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is important when, as in your case, there are allergies in the family. The longer you breastfeed the less likely your child is to inherit your allergies, and breastfeeding may also decrease your own allergy symptoms for a while. Stress can trigger or aggravate asthma and allergies. Breastfeeding stimulates your natural tranquilizing hormones, which may, in turn, reduce the severity of your allergies.
As always, be sure to check directly with your doctor before taking any medication while breastfeeding, because you may have a special medical situation.
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Alternatives To Taking Benadryl While Breastfeeding
Luckily, for breastfeeding mothers, there are plenty of safe alternatives to taking Benadryl while breastfeeding. The best options are antihistamines that arent sedatives since they are less likely to have a sedative effect on the baby. Claritin is one allergy medicine that has been studied during breastfeeding, and its shown to pass only marginally into breastmilk. Do note, however, that Claritin-D contains pseudoephedrine and can reduce milk supply.
If your doctor does advise you to take Benadryl for some reason, you can take it before bedtime after youve just breastfed your baby, or you might take it while youre breastfeeding so it can start clearing your system before the next feeding. Other medicines you might take can include antihistamine nasal sprays and eyedrops. There are also decongestants that can be used during breastfeeding as well. However, many decongestant allergy medicines do have pseudoephedrine, so be sure to check the labels. Nasal decongestant sprays that can be used while breastfeeding include Afrin and Tyzine. For some women, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids, which suppress inflammation related to allergies. Allergy immunotherapy is an option during breastfeeding as well. Immunotherapy is a series of shots given several times a week for anywhere from three to six months, which helps train the bodys immune system to stop attacking allergens.
Side Effects Of Fexofenadine While Breastfeeding:
Allegra breastfeeding has certain side effects. It is not unusual as most drug use carries the risk of side effects. These side effects may be mild to severe.
If you plan to use fexofenadine while breastfeeding, observe any symptoms, you experience after taking a dose. It is also a good practice to discuss any potential side effects with your doctor before you plan to take the drug while breastfeeding. Doing so can help you make an informed decision about your health .
Some common side effects of using fexofenadine while breastfeeding include:
- Trouble swallowing
Fexofenadine use may also cause different side effects in you. If you feel any discomfort after using fexofenadine, tell your doctor about it.
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Do I Have To Stop Breastfeeding If I Have Allergies
No. You definitely can breastfeed while you have allergies, including if you have topical symptoms such as a rash or hives.;
Sometimes telling the difference between a cold and allergies is a challenge because they share many of the same symptoms.;
Rest assured, even if you have a cold or flu, you can still breastfeed while you’re symptomatic, and weaning is not necessary.;
Cough & Sore Throat Meds
- Sore throat sprays or lozenges are generally considered safe, as are cough drops. Avoid eating excessive amounts of cough drops containing menthol. Large amounts of menthol can reduce milk supply.
- Many forms of Robitussin, Delsym and Benylin are considered compatible with breastfeeding. Always check the active ingredients, as there are many versions.
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Fish That Are High In Mercury
Some fish, such as shark, swordfish, and certain types of tuna, is known for having a higher mercury content than others.
If too much of these fish are consumed while breastfeeding, that high level of mercury can be passed on to your little one making these species of fish not safe to eat while breastfeeding.
Babies that are exposed to high levels of mercury often experience cognitive delays, delays in fine motor skills, and much more that can affect them for the rest of their life. Fish that are high in mercury can include:;
- Wide-eyed tuna
Please be advised that this is not a comprehensive list of all fish that contain mercury. For more information contact your healthcare provider.;
Sore Itchy Throat And/or Cough
- Drink strong black tea .
- Drink hot lemonade with honey. Or make a mixture of one part lemon juice and two parts honey. Sip throughout the day.
- Drink fenugreek tea to relieve head and chest congestion and cough.
- Use Zinc gluconate lozenges, but avoid taking large amounts of zinc for more than seven days, because it can interfere with other minerals in the body.
- Salt water gargle:Mix a 1 tablespoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Gargle the whole mixture several times a day.
- Apple-cider vinegar and water gargle.Mix 1-6 teaspoons vinegar in a glass of water; you can mix it as strong as you can stand it. Gargle one mouthful . Repeat twice. Do this every hour, or as needed.
- Slippery elm bark can help with sore throat and cough. It comes in herbal cough drops and throat lozenges , or you can make a tea. For tea, use 1 to 3 teaspoons of powdered bark per cup, boil and simmer 15 minutes. Up to 3 cups per day.
- Chamomile tea gargle
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Birth Control Medication Should Only Be Taken After Breastfeeding Has Been Established
The AAP says birth control pills have no harmful effects on the baby. Combination pills with high doses of estrogen may lead to lower milk supply. Nursing moms can take progestin-only pills without affecting breastfeeding but may experience more side effects.
Breastfeeding itself is a contraceptive method, called the Lactational Amenorrhea Method. It only works if you are less than six months postpartum, are breastfeeding exclusively , and have not gotten your period back since youve given birth.
Loratadine Use While Breastfeeding
Drugs containing Loratadine: Claritin, Claritin-D, Claritin-D 24 Hour, Allergy Relief Tablets, Alavert, Claritin Reditabs, Claritin 24 Hour Allergy, Children’s Claritin Allergy, Loratadine-D 24 Hour, Claritin-D 12 Hour, Show all 31 »Help I Have Allergies, Bactimicina Allergy, Tavist ND, Allergy Relief 24 Hour, Children’s Allergy Relief 24 Hour, Vicks QlearQuil All Day & All Night 24 Hour Allergy Relief, ohm Allergy Relief, Clear-Atadine, Claritin Hives Relief, Dimetapp Children’s ND Non-Drowsy Allergy, Loratadine Reditab, Wal-itin, Clear-Atadine Children’s, Loratadine-D 12 Hour, Clear-Atadine-D, Alavert D-12 Hour Allergy and Sinus, Allergy Relief D12, Leader Allergy Relief D-24, Allergy & Congestion Relief, Allergy Relief D 24 Hour, AllerClear D-24 Hour
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 12, 2021.
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Other Common Medications Used In Breastfeeding
In general, data is limited for the effects of these drugs on a breastfeeding infant. Follow the links to learn more about use of these drugs in breastfeeding and always check with your doctor. Added monitoring or laboratory testing may be required for the infant. Prescribing is made on a case-by-case basis by your healthcare provider.
|Drug or Class|
Effects In Breastfed Infants
A survey of 51 mothers who took loratadine during breastfeeding between 1999 and 2001 was conducted by a teratogen information service. Most of the infants were over 2 months old and loratadine was generally taken for one week or less. Two mothers reported minor sedation in their infants, one at 3 days of age and one at 3 months of age. Both mothers were taking a dose of 10 mg daily. Weight gain and psychomotor development were similar to infants in a control group of breastfed infants unexposed to medications. An extension of the study that compared the results of this study to that of a control group of 88 mothers who took a drug known to be safe while breastfeeding. No differences in sedation or any other side effects in the infant were found between mothers who took loratadine during breastfeeding and those of the control group.
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How To Minimise The Risk
- Sometimes it is best to express and discard your milk while you are taking medicine. This will keep up the milk supply.
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about switching to a different medicine.
- Take the medicine a different way, for example as a nasal spray.
- Take the lowest possible dose to relieve your symptoms.
- Take the medicine straight after a feed, or before your baby is due to have a long sleep.
How Can Benadryl Affect Your Baby
Most allergy medicines arent believed to affect a nursing baby, but Benadryl would not be the first option recommended to a breastfeeding mother. The active ingredient, diphenhydramine, can affect a baby. Some of the possible side effects of Benadryl on nursing babies include drowsiness, excitability, and irritability. The younger the baby, the more likely the side effects are to occur. Beyond Benadryl, there are very few allergy medicines that are not advised for use by breastfeeding mothers. However, there is one other ingredient often used in allergy medicines you may want to avoid if youre nursing: pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine isnt considered to be dangerous for the baby, but it can reduce milk production. If a mother already has issues with milk production or if shes in the later stages of lactation with an older child, she should avoid any allergy medicine that contains pseudoephedrine. Some research shows the use of pseudoephedrine can decrease milk supply by as much as 24 percent.
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Is It Safe To Take Benadryl While Breastfeeding
Benadryl is a commonly used over-the-counter medication. The active ingredient in brand-name Benadryl is diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine drug. Diphenhydramine is used to treat allergies, and its also included in sleep aids like Unisom because it promotes drowsiness. Diphenhydramine can also help treat nausea and certain cold symptoms. When someone uses Benadryl or any drug with diphenhydramine, the side effects are typically fairly mild. Side effects may include coordination problems and sleepiness. Diphenhydramine is described as a first-generation antihistamine. Its the most commonly used antihistamine in emergency departments and, along with oral versions of Benadryl, its available in topical creams and lotions. Benadryl is considered safe to use during pregnancy. In fact, the active ingredient of diphenhydramine is sometimes given to pregnant women who struggle with morning sickness because it has some nausea-relieving properties.
What about taking Benadryl while breastfeeding? Taking Benadryl while breastfeeding isnt considered to be a good option, even though its largely safe during pregnancy. Benadryl is believed to pass through breast milk and it can affect a nursing baby. Younger babies can be especially sensitive to the effects of Benadryl if its in their mothers breastmilk. Unlike some other allergy medicines, Benadryl doesnt affect how much milk you make but it can affect how much milk flows from your breasts while youre nursing.
Breastfeeding And Medication Tips
- The American Academy of Pediatrics states that many effects of medications on breastfeeding babies simply are not known. Due to this, only take a medication when absolutely needed, at the lowest dose and for the shortest time possible.
- When possible, take medications that are given only once a day right after a feeding when your baby will have the longest period without nursing; for many women this is the last feeding of the night before the infant’s bedtime.
- Watch your baby for side effects such as sleepiness, irritability, other potential or known reactions of the medication.
- Avoid long-acting , extended-release , and combination forms of medications, when possible. Shorter-acting medications are elimninated from your body more quickly, and single medications give you greater flexibility in dosing.
- Only water-miscible cream or gel products should be applied to the breast because ointments may expose the infant to high levels of mineral paraffins via licking.
- Special precautions may be needed in preterm infants, due to their size and organ systems that are even less developed than a regular term infant.
- Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of any medication prescribed while you are breastfeeding, or any medication you choose from OTC options that do not require a prescription.
- When more than one medication or a combination medication is used, follow the breastfeeding recommendations for the most problematic medication.
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