Studies on Activella (estradiol/norethindrone) and breastfeeding have shown that the estrogen and progestin hormones in the medication pass through breast milk in low amounts. These amounts are probably too low to cause significant problems in nursing infants, but the hormones may also decrease the production and quality of breast milk. Before taking Activella, breastfeeding women should ask their healthcare providers about the potential risks.
Can I Take Activella While Breastfeeding?
Activella® (estradiol/norethindrone) is a prescription medication approved to prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and to treat certain menopause symptoms. The hormones in the drug may decrease the quality and quantity of breast milk, and are known to pass through breast milk. Therefore, check with your healthcare provider before taking Activella if you are breastfeeding.
(Mimvey™ is a generic version of Activella. Therefore, the information in this article also applies to Mimvey.)
What Does the Research Say About Activella and Breastfeeding?
Studies have shown that the estrogen and progestin hormones in Activella pass through breast milk in low amounts. These amounts are probably too low to cause significant or long-lasting problems in breastfeeding infants.
More importantly, the estrogen hormones in Activella may decrease the production and quality of breast milk. It is for this reason that estrogen-containing medications (including Activella and many birth control pills) are usually not recommended for women who are breastfeeding. In fact, estradiol (the estrogen in Activella) has been used to suppress lactation (milk production) in women who choose not to breastfeed.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Activella and Breastfeeding
You should talk with your healthcare provider about Activella and breastfeeding. 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 about Activella and breastfeeding that is right for you. In most situations, the drug is not recommended for breastfeeding women.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Activella [package insert]. Princeton, NJ: Novo Nordisk, Inc.;2006 December.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed April 8, 2008.
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