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Pediatrics. 1999 Nov;104(5):e61.

Weight gain in infants breastfed by mothers who take fluoxetine.

Author information

1
Departments of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, California 92103, USA. chchambers@ucsd.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Despite the manufacturer's recommendation that fluoxetine not be used by women while breastfeeding, many women choose to do so. There is little information available in the literature to suggest that this practice is or is not safe. The purpose of this study was to examine weight gain in infants who are breastfed by mothers who take fluoxetine, compared with weight gain in infants who are breastfed by mothers who do not take any psychotherapeutic medication. A secondary goal was to assess the frequency of reported side effects in infants who are breastfed by mothers who take fluoxetine.

METHODOLOGY:

A retrospective cohort study design was used. Subjects were identified from an ongoing pregnancy outcome study conducted through the California Teratogen Information Service and Clinical Research Program. A total of 64 women were interviewed who had taken fluoxetine during a pregnancy between the 1989 and 1997; 26 of these women breastfed their infants and continued to take the medication, and 38 breastfed their infants but did not take the medication. Postnatal weight gain was taken from pediatric records, and the frequency of side effects was measured by maternal response to the interview questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Using linear regression analysis, the infants who were breastfed by mothers taking fluoxetine demonstrated a growth curve significantly below that of infants who were breastfed by mothers who did not take the drug. The average deficit in measurements taken between 2 weeks and 6 months of age was 392 g (95% confidence interval: -5, -780). Using a repeated measures analysis of covariance for those infants with more than one postnatal weight measurement available, the difference between the two groups was similar, approximately 1.2 standard deviations (P =.005). In response to interview questions regarding side effects, no mother who breastfed her infant while taking fluoxetine reported any unusual symptoms that could be attributed to the medication.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data do not suggest that women who breastfeed while taking fluoxetine are likely to note unusual behavior in their infants that they consider related to use of the medication. However, although there was no excess of infants in the fluoxetine group with postnatal weight measurements >2 standard deviations below the mean, these data indicate that breastfeeding while taking fluoxetine is associated with reduced growth that may be of clinical importance in situations in which infant weight gain is already of concern.

PMID:
10545587
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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