It is not clear whether Alkeran (melphalan) would pass through breast milk in women, or if it would harm a nursing infant. However, based on the properties of the drug, it is expected that Alkeran would pass through breast milk to some extent. Due to the potentially serious risks associated with this chemotherapy drug, the manufacturer recommends that women not breastfeed during Alkeran treatment.
Can Breastfeeding Women Use Alkeran?
Alkeran® (melphalan) is a prescription medication used in the treatment of cancer. At this time, it is unknown whether Alkeran passes through breast milk. The manufacturer of the medication recommends it not be given to women who are breastfeeding.
More Information on Alkeran and Breastfeeding
Alkeran 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.
Based on the properties of Alkeran, it is expected that the drug would pass through breast milk to some extent. Alkeran is associated with potentially serious side effects. Because of the potential for a breastfeeding child to develop these serious side effects, it is generally recommended that women not breastfeed during Alkeran treatment.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider
You should discuss breastfeeding and Alkeran 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):
Alkeran [package insert]. Rockville, MD: ApoPharma USA, Inc.;November 2011.
Alkeran Tablet [package insert]. Rockville, MD: ApoPharma USA, Inc.;June 2011.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
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