Studies on metronidazole and breastfeeding have shown that the medication passes through breast milk. Although no significant side effects have been reported in infants exposed to the antibiotic, there is a theoretical risk of childhood cancer due to exposure through breast milk. Before taking this drug, breastfeeding women should talk to their healthcare providers about the potential risks.
Is Taking Metronidazole While Breastfeeding Safe?
Metronidazole (Flagyl®, MetroCream®, MetroGel®, MetroGel-Vaginal®, MetroLotion®, Noritate®, Vandazole®) passes through breast milk in humans. There is some concern about the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) potential of metronidazole, especially when young children may be exposed. If you are breastfeeding, you should talk with your healthcare provider before taking metronidazole.
Breastfeeding and Metronidazole: What Does the Research Say?
Studies have shown that metronidazole passes through breast milk. However, no significant side effects have been reported in infants due to maternal use of metronidazole. There is a theoretical risk of childhood (or even adult) cancer due to metronidazole exposure through breast milk. Metronidazole increases the risk of certain cancers in mice and rats; it is unknown if the same is true for humans.
Metronidazole is often used to treat trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted disease). For this use, a single, one-time dose can be taken. When the medication is taken in this manner, women are usually recommended to stop breastfeeding for 12 to 24 hours after the dose to limit exposure to the infant. There are no standard recommendations when metronidazole is taken for longer periods.
If your healthcare provider recommends taking metronidazole while breastfeeding, be sure to watch for any potential problems in your child, especially diarrhea, thrush, or yeast infections, which have been reported in infants exposed to the medication through breast milk.
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