Bactrim and Breastfeeding

Clinical studies on Bactrim and breastfeeding show that the drug passes through breast milk. The prescribing information for Bactrim states that breastfeeding women should never take the medication, but many sources consider the drug to be safe. If you are taking Bactrim and breastfeeding, make sure to watch for side effects in your child.

Is Bactrim Safe for Breastfeeding Women?

Bactrim® (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) passes through breast milk in humans. It is not clear if Bactrim is a good choice for breastfeeding women. Therefore, be sure to ask your healthcare provider about the possible risks and benefits before taking Bactrim while breastfeeding.

What Does the Research Say?

Research has shown that Bactrim passes through breast milk. Although the prescribing information for Bactrim clearly states that breastfeeding women should never take Bactrim, many other sources consider the medication to be compatible for breastfeeding (especially with healthy, full-term infants). There is some concern that Bactrim may increase the risk of jaundice (and theoretically kernicterus, brain damage caused by severe jaundice), so breastfeeding mothers of premature, ill, or jaundiced infants should avoid Bactrim.
Mothers of infants with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency should also avoid Bactrim, as Bactrim could cause hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells) in the infant.
As with the use of most antibiotics while breastfeeding, it is a good idea to watch for certain possible side effects in your child. Look for stomach upset (especially diarrhea), thrush, and diaper rash, which are all possible side effects due to a disruption of the normal "good" bacteria.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Bactrim and Breastfeeding

You should talk with your healthcare provider about Bactrim and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision about Bactrim and breastfeeding that is right for you.
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