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Actiq and Breastfeeding

According to the manufacturer's recommendations for Actiq (fentanyl lozenge), breastfeeding women should not use this drug. Research has shown that the fentanyl component in the drug does pass through breast milk and may cause potentially serious complications in a breastfed infant. However, because some healthcare experts consider fentanyl compatible with breastfeeding, mothers who want to breastfeed should talk to their doctor about their particular situation.

Can I Use Actiq While Breastfeeding?

Actiq® (fentanyl lozenge) is a short-acting, prescription pain medication approved to treat breakthrough cancer pain in people who are already taking long-acting opioid medication for underlying pain. This medication passes through breast milk.
The manufacturer of the drug recommends that women avoid Actiq while breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider before using Actiq.

More Information on Breastfeeding and Actiq

Fentanyl, the active ingredient of Actiq, passes through breast milk in small amounts. Most of the research done on fentanyl and breastfeeding has included single fentanyl doses, rather than chronic (long-term) use. There have been no studies done on using Actiq in women who are nursing. It is unknown if the levels of fentanyl in the breast milk would be higher with repeated fentanyl doses (as would be the case with Actiq use), compared to just one fentanyl dose.
Exposing an infant to this medication may lead to serious problems, including drowsiness, difficulty feeding (which could lead to problems gaining weight), or breathing problems. Although the manufacturer of the drug recommends that women avoid using Actiq while nursing, some experts (such as the American Academy of Pediatrics) generally consider fentanyl compatible with breastfeeding (which means it is probably safe).
If your healthcare provider recommends Actiq while nursing, make sure to watch for any problems in your infant, such as:
  • Breathing problems, including slow and shallow breaths
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Extreme sleepiness.
If you notice any of these problems, or if something "just does not seem right," immediately contact your healthcare provider.
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