Studies have shown that Zyrtec (cetirizine) passes through breast milk in mice and dogs. However, it is not known if the drug passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, talk to your healthcare provider before taking Zyrtec while breastfeeding. If your healthcare provider decides the drug is safe to take, be sure to watch for any side effects in your child.
Zyrtec and Breastfeeding: An Overview
At this time, it is not known if Zyrtec® (cetirizine hydrochloride) passes through breast milk in humans. If you are breastfeeding a child, talk with your healthcare provider about taking Zyrtec. The labeling of Zyrtec products carry a warning stating that the drug is not recommended for use in breastfeeding women. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding a child, or are planning to start, do not take Zyrtec without checking with your healthcare provider first.
Zyrtec and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?
Studies have shown that Zyrtec passes through breast milk in mice and dogs. It is not known if the drug also passes through breast milk in humans. However, based on animal studies and the chemical characteristics of Zyrtec, it is likely that the drug will pass through breast milk in women. This could lead to drowsiness or other problems in a nursing infant. If your healthcare provider recommends taking Zyrtec while breastfeeding, be sure to watch for any side effects in your child.
Similar medications may be less likely to cause drowsiness, compared to Zyrtec. These medications may be preferred over Zyrtec for breastfeeding women. Your healthcare provider can recommend such products for you.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Zyrtec and Breastfeeding
You should talk with your healthcare provider about Zyrtec and breastfeeding. 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 about Zyrtec and breastfeeding 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):
Zyrtec Web site. Available at: http://www.zyrtec.com/econsumer/zyrtec/index.view. Accessed April 2, 2010.
Zyrtec [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer, Inc.;2006 May.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed February 6, 2008.
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