Ovarian Cancer Home > Hexalen and Breastfeeding

It is unknown if Hexalen (altretamine) passes through breast milk in women, or if it would harm a nursing infant. However, this chemotherapy drug is associated with potentially serious complications, such as infections, bleeding, and anemia. Due to these risks, the manufacturer recommends that women not breastfeed during Hexalen treatment.

Can Breastfeeding Women Take Hexalen?

Hexalen® (altretamine) is a prescription chemotherapy medication approved to treat ovarian cancer that has returned or did not adequately respond to other treatment. It is not known whether Hexalen passes through breast milk. The manufacturer of the drug recommends that women not breastfeed during Hexalen treatment.

More Information on Hexalen and Breastfeeding

Hexalen has not been studied in breastfeeding women. Therefore, it is unknown whether the medication passes through breast milk, or if it would harm a nursing child. Although this lack of information is certainly frustrating, it is important to note that most medications are not studied during breastfeeding, as doing so would expose an infant, who would not otherwise benefit from the medication, to possible risks.  
Hexalen is associated with potentially serious side effects. It can reduce the number of blood cells in your body, which can increase the risk for infections, anemia, and bleeding. If the drug passes through breast milk, there is the potential that a nursing child could develop these or other potentially serious Hexalen side effects. Because of this potential risk, it is generally recommended that women not breastfeed while taking Hexalen.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should discuss Hexalen and breastfeeding with your healthcare provider. 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 that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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