It is not known if primaquine passes through breast milk or what effects it might have on a breastfed infant. In many cases, taking primaquine while breastfeeding is considered appropriate once it has been determined that the mother and the infant do not have a certain medical condition known as a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.
Is Primaquine Safe While Breastfeeding?
Primaquine phosphate is a medication used to treat certain types of malaria infections. Specifically, it is used to clear the malaria infection from the liver to prevent malaria relapses. It is unknown if primaquine passes through breast milk. If you are nursing a child, talk with your healthcare provider before taking this medication.
More Information on Breastfeeding and Primaquine
There is very little information available about taking primaquine while breastfeeding. No studies have been done to see if the medication passes through breast milk. Therefore, it is unknown how much (if any) primaquine a child would be exposed to when nursing.
Primaquine may cause certain types of anemia or other dangerous blood cell problems. There is a concern that these harmful side effects may occur in a breastfed child. Because people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency are at an increased risk for these serious primaquine reactions, do not breastfeed until it has been determined that the infant does not have a G6PD deficiency.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization consider this drug appropriate for use in breastfeeding once a G6PD deficiency has been ruled out in both the mother and the infant.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider
You should discuss breastfeeding and primaquine 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
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