Asthma: Flovent, Proventil and Claritin when breastfeeding

I am an asthmatic. I am currently only taking Flovent 220mg 2 puffs BID. And I take Claritin for my allergies. I also occasionally take my proventil inhaler. Will it be safe for me to breastfeed? I haven't completely decided yet, but this plays a definite role. Also, do you know if the flovent is dangerous while pregnant?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It's wonderful that you are thinking about nursing your baby-to-be! "...Research shows that human milk and breastfeeding of infants provide advantages with regard to general health, growth, and development, while significantly decreasing risk for a large number of acute and chronic diseases" (Pediatrics Volume 100, Number 6 December 1997, pp 1035-1039).

Flovent (fluticasone) is an inhaled steroid. For use in pregnancy, it has been classified in Category C. This means that either studies have been done showing adverse effects on the fetus, or that there have been no controlled studies with this medication. This medication should be given only when it is determined that the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

In regard to using fluticasone while breastfeeding, plasma levels of this medication are not detectible when using the recommended dose. For a drug to enter your milk, it needs to be present in your bloodstream. "...It is not likely that milk levels will be clinically relevant, even with rather high doses" (Hale, 1997).

Proventil (albuterol) is a medication commonly prescribed for asthmatics. Following inhalation, it works by dilating constricted bronchial passages. When inhaled, less than 10 percent is absorbed into the mother's bloodstream. "It is very unlikely that pharmacologic doses will be transferred to the infant via milk following inhaler use" (Hale, 1997).

Claritin (loratadine) is one of the newer, long-acting antihistamines. If an antihistamine is needed, it would be wise to discuss the possibility of choosing a shorter acting medication with your Health Care Provider. My best wishes for good health!

Reference:

Medications and Mothers' Milk, Thomas Hale, R.Ph., Ph.D., 1997

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