The perceived impact of medicines, foods and substances taken by mother on their breastfed baby

[Speaker] Hilai Ahmadzai:1
[Co-author] Lisa Bg Tee:1, Richard Parsons:1, Andrew P Crowe:1
1:School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science, Curtin University, Australia

Background: It has been shown that the types and rate of adverse drug reactions experienced by breastfed infants whose mothers are taking medications has not been well defined and are notoriously under reported. Those that are reported often have crucial information missing which makes it difficult to draw valid conclusion mainly due to a lack of a standardized reporting system.

Aims: The objective of this study was to ascertain whether the breastfed baby of a nursing mother experienced any adverse drug reactions (ADR) due to the medicines taken by the mother and the impact of such a reaction on the continuation of breastfeeding and/or mother's treatment.

Methods: This study was conducted as an anonymous online survey consisting of 42 questions divided into 6 sections. Data was collected over a period of just over 6 months. Data was analysed using SPSS software.
Results: A total of 360 responses were obtained. One third of the participants were breastfeeding AND taking a medicine concurrently. 58% of the women reported taking a medicine during pregnancy and 30% reported starting a NEW medicine post-partum. 16 cases (4.4%) of a suspected ADR were reported with all ADRs having a Naranjo score indicating maternal drug intake as a possible or probable cause of the ADR in the breastfed baby. Reports of ADRs to food products was surprisingly high (n=75). 10 participants (2.8%) discontinued or changed treatment after the appearance of the reported ADR.
Conclusion: Medication use in breastfeeding is quite prevalent and consequently the occurrence of ADR in the breastfed infant is also possible. An ADR in a breastfed baby can lead to treatment discontinuation for the mother or cessation of breastfeeding, with neither being ideal. However, the identification of ADR in breastfed infants and reporting of these ADR is likely to be understated due to difficulties in assessing the nature of the ADR and establishing causal relationships between the ADR and maternal drug exposure.

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