The manufacturer of topotecan (Hycamtin) recommends that women not use this chemotherapy medication while breastfeeding. Topotecan is likely to pass through breast milk in humans (based on the chemical structure of the drug) and may be quite toxic to infants. In most cases, the potential risks to the breastfed infant outweigh the benefits of breastfeeding.
Can Breastfeeding Women Use Topotecan?
At this time, it is usually recommended that women not breastfeed while taking the chemotherapy drug topotecan (Hycamtin®). Due to the possible risks to a breastfed child, the manufacturer of topotecan states that breastfeeding should be stopped if a woman needs to take this medication. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding a child, you should talk with your healthcare provider about taking topotecan.
More Information on Topotecan and Breastfeeding
Topotecan passes through breast milk in rats in high amounts. No research about topotecan and breast milk has been done in humans, but it is expected that the drug will likely pass through breast milk in humans as well (based on the chemical properties of the drug).
Like most chemotherapy drugs, topotecan can be quite toxic, and an infant exposed to topotecan through breast milk could develop serious problems. In most cases, the possible risks from topotecan to the breastfed infant outweigh the benefits of breastfeeding.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider
You should discuss topotecan 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: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Hycamtin for Injection [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2010 March.
Hycamtin Capsules [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2009 November.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
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