Women who are using Vagifem (estradiol vaginal tablets) and breastfeeding at the same time should be aware that the medication passes through breast milk. While only a small amount of the hormones pass through, they can decrease the quality and quantity of breast milk. In fact, the estradiol hormone in Vagifem is sometimes used to suppress lactation in women who choose not to breastfeed.
Can I Safely Use Vagifem While Breastfeeding?
Vagifem® (estradiol vaginal tablets) is a prescription hormone replacement medication used to treat vaginal menopause symptoms. The estrogen hormone in the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream and can pass through breast milk. Also, the estrogen may decrease the quality and quantity of breast milk. Therefore, check with your healthcare provider before taking Vagifem if you are breastfeeding.
Even though Vagifem is used vaginally at a low dose, it could still cause the usual problems as other estrogen medications in women who are breastfeeding.
What Does the Research Say About Vagifem and Breastfeeding?
Research suggests that the hormones in Vagifem pass through breast milk in low amounts. These amounts are probably too low to cause significant or long-lasting problems in nursing infants.
More importantly, the estrogen hormones in Vagifem may decrease the production and quality of breast milk. It is for this reason that estrogen-containing medications (including Vagifem and many birth control pills) are not usually recommended for women who are breastfeeding. In fact, estradiol (the estrogen in Vagifem) is sometimes used to suppress lactation in women who choose not to breastfeed.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Vagifem and Breastfeeding
You should talk with your healthcare provider about Vagifem 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 Vagifem and breastfeeding 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):
Vagifem [package insert]. Princeton, NJ: Novo Nordisk, Inc.;2012 April.
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 7, 2008.
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