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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: December 21, 2020.

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

CASRN: 59-99-4

image 134972621 in the ncbi pubchem database

Drug Levels and Effects

Summary of Use during Lactation

Limited data indicate that use of neostigmine to treat myasthenia gravis may be acceptable during breastfeeding, although pyridostigmine may be preferred. Monitor newborns because abdominal cramps after each breastfeeding has been reported. Because of its short half-life, single doses of neostigmine to reverse neuromuscular blockade following surgery are unlikely to adversely affect the breastfed infant more than transiently.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. In a case series of 12 patients with 21 pregnancies in the 1950s and 1960s, the authors could not detect neostigmine in the breastmilk of several of the mothers. However, details of the dosage, timing and assay sensitivity were not stated.[1]

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

Effects in Breastfed Infants

Six infants of mothers treated with neostigmine for myasthenia gravis were reportedly breastfed successfully. One newborn infant appeared to have abdominal cramps after each breastfeeding, probably caused by neostigmine, although it could not be detected in the breastmilk of the infant's mother.[1]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Relevant published information in nursing mothers was not found as of the revision date. In animals, cholinergic drugs increase oxytocin release,[2] and have variable effects on serum prolactin.[3] The prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.

Alternate Drugs to Consider



Fraser D, Turner JW. Myasthenia gravis and pregnancy. Proc R Soc Med. 1963;56:379–81. [PMC free article: PMC1897473] [PubMed: 19994245]
Clarke G, Fall CH, Lincoln DW, et al. Effects of cholinoceptor antagonists on the suckling-induced and experimentally evoked release of oxytocin. Br J Pharmacol. 1978;63:519–27. [PMC free article: PMC1668097] [PubMed: 566601]
Müller EE, Locatelli V, Cella S, et al. Prolactin-lowering and -releasing drugs: mechanisms of action and therapeutic applications. Drugs. 1983;25:399–432. [PubMed: 6133737]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Cholinesterase Inhibitors


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.

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

Bookshelf ID: NBK501379PMID: 30000438


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