Sulfatrim and Breastfeeding

Before taking Sulfatrim, breastfeeding women should ask their healthcare providers about the possible risks. Research has shown that Sulfatrim does pass through breast milk and may be dangerous to infants with certain health conditions. If your healthcare provider recommends taking Sulfatrim while breastfeeding, be sure to watch for any side effects in your child (such as diarrhea or thrush).

Is Sulfatrim Safe for Breastfeeding Women?

There is conflicting information available about the safety of Sulfatrim® (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) for women who are breastfeeding. Therefore, make sure to ask your healthcare provider about the possible risks and benefits before taking Sulfatrim while breastfeeding. Sulfatrim is a prescription antibiotic often used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other types of infections.

What Does the Research Say?

Research has shown that Sulfatrim passes through breast milk. Although the prescribing information for Sulfatrim clearly states that breastfeeding women should never take Sulfatrim, many other sources consider the medication compatible with breastfeeding (especially with healthy, full-term infants without jaundice).
Sulfatrim may increase the risk of jaundice (and, theoretically, kernicterus, brain damage caused by severe jaundice). Therefore, breastfeeding mothers of premature, ill, or jaundiced infants should avoid Sulfatrim. Mothers of infants with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency should also avoid Sulfatrim, as Sulfatrim 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.
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