Prozac Used by Breastfeeding Mothers May Affect Baby's Weight
WebMD News Archive
Second, the nursing mothers may have breastfed less often or engaged in
other behaviors that affected the infants' weight gain. Third, the lower weight
could be due to the mother's use of the drug while she was pregnant. "I
think it's somewhat of a preliminary study. ... It's not definitive,"
Anderson tells WebMD.
The age of the infant and the mother's medical history should factor into
any decisions about prescribing Prozac, according to Anderson.
"If she is just starting this medication for the first time, I would
suggest using a different drug and not using Prozac to start with," he
says. "If she has been taking it through pregnancy and now she is going to
start nursing, I think the benefits of nursing still outweigh the potential
risks of Prozac. But the physician needs to watch very carefully the weight
gain and the behavior of the infant and make sure there aren't colicky symptoms
and the baby is gaining weight adequately. If the baby is 1 year old, and the
mother is nursing three or four times a day and feeding the baby a lot of food,
I don't think it makes any difference which [medication] they choose. ... All
in all, use something else first whenever possible."
"There are better alternatives," says Anderson. He says that
information is available on Pamelor (nortriptyline ) and Zoloft (sertraline).
"Those medications are not detectable in the babies' serum even when the
babies are nursing. Some recent data looks like Paxil [paroxitene] is a pretty
good choice, too."
- Continuing to take Prozac while breastfeeding is not associated with any
unusual behavior in children, but it is linked to reduced growth.
- The drug may directly inhibit weight gain in these infants, or it could be
a result of a behavior by the mothers.
- There are alternative antidepressant medications that nursing mothers could
take that do not seem to affect babies.