Cancer Home > Caprelsa and Breastfeeding

The manufacturer of Caprelsa (vandetanib) does not recommend breastfeeding and taking the drug at the same time, due to the risk of serious side effects. Although it's unclear if Caprelsa passes through human breast milk, the medication has been shown to pass through the breast milk of rats. Therefore, the risk of side effects in a nursing infant cannot be ruled out.

Can Breastfeeding Women Take Caprelsa?

Caprelsa® (vandetanib) is a prescription thyroid cancer medication. It is used in adults who have medullary thyroid cancer that has spread beyond the thyroid to other areas of the body or cannot be removed by surgery. At this time, it is not known if Caprelsa passes through breast milk in humans.

More Information About Caprelsa and Breastfeeding

Caprelsa has not been studied in breastfeeding mothers. Therefore, it is unknown whether the medication passes through breast milk, or whether it would harm a nursing child.
Caprelsa has been shown to pass through the breast milk of rats. In these studies, when mother rats were given the drug, Caprelsa was found in the bodies of the breastfeeding baby rats.
Caprelsa can cause potentially serious side effects. Because the drug has not been studied in breastfeeding women, the possibility that a nursing infant would be at risk for these serious side effects cannot be ruled out. The manufacturer recommends women choose between using this medicine and breastfeeding -- but not do both.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should discuss breastfeeding and Caprelsa 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:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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