Paxil and Breastfeeding

Many healthcare providers usually advise their patients that it is okay to breastfeed while taking Paxil. Several studies have shown that when women take Paxil when they are breastfeeding, the levels of Paxil in their child's blood is either very low or undetectable. Although small amounts of Paxil pass through breast milk, the benefits of breastfeeding are thought to outweigh the risks of the medication in most cases.

Paxil and Breastfeeding: An Overview

Small amounts of Paxil® (paroxetine hydrochloride) pass through breast milk. Because of the potentially serious side effects that could occur in the nursing infant, it is recommended that healthcare providers look at the possible risks and benefits before recommending Paxil while breastfeeding. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding while taking Paxil (or considering it), make sure to let your healthcare provider know.
 
When asked about Paxil and breastfeeding, many healthcare providers advise that it is okay to breastfeed while taking Paxil. In most cases, it is thought that the benefits of breastfeeding a child outweigh the possible risks the medication may pose.
 

Paxil and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

Several studies have shown that when women take Paxil when they are breastfeeding, the levels of Paxil in their child's blood is either very low or undetectable and, in most cases, no side effects have been reported in the nursing infants.

However, there have been cases where side effects, such as irritability, constipation, sedation, and difficulty feeding, have been reported. Most of these occurred when the mothers also took Paxil during pregnancy, making it difficult to determine whether the side effects were due to the drug being taken during breastfeeding or during pregnancy. 
 
Unfortunately, the recommendations for breastfeeding and Paxil use are not clear-cut at this time. A recent study done by Berle and colleagues published in the September 2004 edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry concluded that "this study adds further evidence to previous published data indicating that breastfeeding should not be generally discouraged in women using serotonin reuptake antidepressants."
 
However, because the long-term effects of Paxil use during breastfeeding are not entirely known, other experts recommend stopping or reducing the frequency of breastfeeding during treatment. The American Academy of Pediatrics considers Paxil a medicine for which the effects on a nursing infant are unknown, but potentially concerning.
 
Avoiding breastfeeding approximately four to five hours after taking a dose, when levels of Paxil are at their highest, may help limit the amount of drug passed to a nursing infant. In addition, if your healthcare provider recommends Paxil use during breastfeeding, be sure to closely observe your infant for any possible side effects, such as irritability, constipation, sedation, and problems feeding.
 
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