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The manufacturer of Zevalin (ibritumomab) recommends that women not use this drug while nursing, as it is thought that the medicine could pass through human breast milk and may harm a nursing infant. Due to the potential risks to a nursing infant, women should not receive Zevalin while breastfeeding without first talking to their healthcare provider.
Can Breastfeeding Women Receive Zevalin?Zevalin® (ibritumomab) is a prescription medication used to treat people with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is an injectable medicine given in combination with rituximab (Rituxan®). This drug is expected to pass through breast milk. The manufacturer recommends women not receive Zevalin if they are breastfeeding.
More Information About Zevalin and BreastfeedingAt this time, no research has been done to see if Zevalin passes through breast milk. However, this medication is a manufactured form of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody, a protein made by the immune system. Because natural IgG is known to pass through breast milk, it is also expected that Zevalin would pass through breast milk.
Because it has not been studied in breastfeeding women or infants, it is unknown whether Zevalin would be absorbed from the digestive tract of a nursing infant into the infant's bloodstream. It is also unknown whether the medicine would cause significant harm to the infant. Only a small amount of IgG is normally absorbed from the digestive tract.
However, Zevalin is associated with potentially serious side effects. The medicine suppresses the activity of the immune system, which increases the risk for infections. In addition, Zevalin is a radioactive medication. The potential for radiation exposure and immunosuppression in a nursing infant cannot be ruled out until more is known about Zevalin and breastfeeding.