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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 18, 2022.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

CASRN: 130018-77-8

image 135107372 in the ncbi pubchem database

Drug Levels and Effects

Summary of Use during Lactation

Levocetirizine is the R-enantiomer of cetirizine. Based on limited information from cetirizine and levocetirizine, levocetirizine appears to be acceptable during breastfeeding.[1,2] Larger doses or more prolonged use may cause drowsiness and other effects in the infant or decrease the milk supply, particularly in combination with a sympathomimetic such as pseudoephedrine or before lactation is well established. International guidelines recommend cetirizine, the racemic form of the drug, as an acceptable choice if an antihistamine is required during breastfeeding.[3,4]

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. As part of a validation study on analysis of cetirizine and levocetirizine in breastmilk, 252 steady-state milk samples from 228 women taking either cetirizine 5 to 20 mg daily (n = 229) or levocetirizine 5 mg daily (n = 9) were analyzed. Specific dosages and times of milk collection were not given. The median milk concentrations of cetirizine and levoceitirizine was 13 mcg/L (range 0.65 to 65 mcg/L; IQR 4.9 to 24.8 mcg/L) in 228 samples. Twenty-four samples had levels below the limit of quantification (<0.39 mcg/L).[2]

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

Effects in Breastfed Infants

Relevant published information on levocetirizine was not found as of the revision date. In one telephone follow-up study, mothers reported irritability and colicky symptoms in 10% of infants exposed to various antihistamines, and drowsiness was reported in 1.6% of infants. None of the reactions required medical attention.[5]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Antihistamines in relatively high doses given by injection can decrease basal serum prolactin in nonlactating women and in early postpartum women.[6,7] However, suckling-induced prolactin secretion is not affected by antihistamine pretreatment of postpartum mothers.[3] Whether lower oral doses of levocetirizine have the same effect on serum prolactin or whether the effects on prolactin have any consequences on breastfeeding success have not been studied. The prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.

Alternate Drugs to Consider

Cetirizine, Desloratadine, Fexofenadine, Loratadine


Wilkerson H, Datta P, Rewers-Felkins K, et al. Maternal transfer of cetirizine into human milk. J Hum Lact. 2021;37:135–8. [PubMed: 32853084]
Wegler C, Saleh A, Lindqvist A, et al. Simple and rapid quantification of cetirizine, venlafaxine, and O-desmethylvenlafaxine in human breast milk, and metformin in human milk and plasma with UHPLC-MS/MS. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2022;1205:123340. [PubMed: 35732105]
Powell RJ, Du Toit GL, Siddique N, et al. BSACI guidelines for the management of chronic urticaria and angio-oedema. Clin Exp Allergy. 2007;37:631–50. [PubMed: 17456211]
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]
Ito S, Blajchman A, Stephenson M, et al. Prospective follow-up of adverse reactions in breast-fed infants exposed to maternal medication. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993;168:1393–9. [PubMed: 8498418]
Messinis IE, Souvatzoglou A, Fais N, et al. Histamine H1 receptor participation in the control of prolactin secretion in postpartum. J Endocrinol Invest. 1985;8:143–6. [PubMed: 3928731]
Pontiroli AE, De Castro e Silva E, Mazzoleni F, et al. The effect of histamine and H1 and H2 receptors on prolactin and luteinizing hormone release in humans: Sex differences and the role of stress. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1981;52:924–8. [PubMed: 7228996]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Milk, Human


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: NBK501598PMID: 30000658


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