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Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-.

Cover of Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed)

Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet].

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Last Revision: February 20, 2022.

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

CASRN: 147-94-4

image 403398088 in the ncbi pubchem database

Drug Levels and Effects

Summary of Use during Lactation

No information is available on the excretion of cytarabine into breastmilk. However, the drug has a short half-life of 2 to 3 hours after intravenous administration, so it should be eliminated from milk a day after intravenous administration.[1] Very little information is available on the use of cytarabine during breastfeeding. In one case, a mother began breastfeeding her infant 3 weeks after receiving cytarabine, mitoxantrone and etoposide intravenously, with no apparent harm to her infant. After intrathecal administration of the liposomal formulation of cytarabine, drugs levels in plasma are barely detectable, and are unlikely to appear in milk in clinically relevant amounts.

Drug Levels

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

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

Effects in Breastfed Infants

One mother received 3 daily doses of 6 mg/sq. m. of mitoxantrone intravenously along with 5 daily doses of etoposide 80 mg/sq. m. and cytarabine 170 mg/sq. m. intravenously. She resumed breastfeeding her infant 3 weeks after the third dose of mitoxantrone at a time when mitoxantrone was still detectable in milk. The infant had no apparent abnormalities at 16 months of age. However, after 3 weeks of abstinence from breastfeeding, it is unlikely that cytarabine was present in milk during breastfeeding.[2]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

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


Hamada A, Kawaguchi T, Nakano M. Clinical pharmacokinetics of cytarabine formulations. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2002;41:705–18. [PubMed: 12162758]
Azuno Y, Kaku K, Fujita N, et al. Mitoxantrone and etoposide in breast milk. Am J Hematol 1995;48:131-2. Letter. PMID: 7847330. [PubMed: 7847330]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic

Immunosuppressive 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.


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