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Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; 2006-.

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Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®) [Internet].

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Last Revision: July 20, 2020.

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

CASRN: 51333-22-3

image 135019928 in the ncbi pubchem database

Drug Levels and Effects

Summary of Use during Lactation

The amounts of inhaled budesonide excreted into breastmilk are minute and infant exposure is negligible. When taken by mouth, budesonide is only about 9% bioavailable; bioavailability in the infant is likely to be similarly low for any budesonide that enters the breastmilk. Expert opinion considers inhaled, nasal and oral corticosteroids acceptable to use during breastfeeding.[1,2]

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. The manufacturer reports that the maximum budesonide plasma concentration following a 9 mg daily dose in both single- and repeated-dose pharmacokinetic studies of oral budesonide ranges from 2.15 to 4.31 mcg/L.

Eight women with asthma were using inhaled budesonide 200 mcg (n = 4) or 400 mcg twice daily (n = 4) by Pulmicort Turbihaler. Peak milk levels of budesonide of 168 ng/L and 335 ng/L occurred at 32 and 43 minutes after inhalation with the 200 mcg and 400 mcg doses, respectively. Average infant doses were estimated to be 6.8 and 14.2 ng/kg daily for the 200 mcg and 400 mcg dosages. A fully breastfed infant would receive a maximum of 0.3% of the weight-adjusted maternal dosage, assuming 100% oral bioavailability from breastmilk.[3]

Infant Levels. Four infants whose mothers were taking budesonide 200 mcg (n = 2) or 400 mcg (n = 2) twice daily by Pulmicort Turbihaler. The infants had serum samples taken 1.5 hours (range 0.7 to 2 hours) after the first breastfeeding after drug administration and 2.3 hours (range 2.1 to 2.6 hours) after maternal drug inhalation. All had undetectable (<8.6 to 17.2 ng/L) serum budesonide concentrations.[3]

Effects in Breastfed Infants

None reported with any corticosteroid.

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Alternate Drugs to Consider

(Inhalation) Beclomethasone


National Heart, Lung, and Blood, Institute, et al. NAEPP expert panel report. Managing asthma during pregnancy: recommendations for pharmacologic treatment-2004 update. 2004:1-57. http://www​.nhlbi.nih​.gov/health/prof/lung/asthma/astpreg.htm. [PubMed: 15637545]
Middleton PG, Gade EJ, Aguilera C, et al. ERS/TSANZ Task Force Statement on the management of reproduction and pregnancy in women with airways diseases. Eur Respir J. 2020;55:1901208. [PubMed: 31699837]
Falt A, Bengtsson T, Kennedy BM, et al. Exposure of infants to budesonide through breast milk of asthmatic mothers. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007;120:798–802. [PubMed: 17825891]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Anti-Asthmatic Agents

Corticosteroids, Inhaled

Anti-allergic Agents

Corticosteroids, Systemic


Anti-Inflammatory Agents

Disclaimer: Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.

Copyright Notice

Attribution Statement: LactMed is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Bookshelf ID: NBK501215PMID: 30000274


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