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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1992;107(1):69-72.

Quantification of naturally occurring benzodiazepine-like substances in human breast milk.

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Department II of Psychiatry, Lillhagen Hospital, Hisings Backa, Sweden.


The possible occurrence of benzodiazepine-like substances in human breast milk was investigated in 35 healthy, newly delivered women who were known not to be taking benzodiazepines. Maternal blood samples and a sample of breast milk were obtained on the fifth post partum day. A radioreceptor technique (lower limit of detection 1.5 ng/ml; difference between duplicates at various concentrations less than 7%) was used for measuring benzodiazepine-like substances in blood and breast milk (with and without prior extraction). No benzodiazepine-like substances could be demonstrated in any of the blood samples taken from the 35 women. Measurable concentrations of benzodiazepine-like substances were demonstrated in all but 1 of the 35 breast milk samples. The mean concentration of benzodiazepine-like substances for all 35 women was 4.3 +/- 2.3 ng/ml (range 0-9.3 ng/ml) expressed as lorazepam. The corresponding value for extracted breast milk was 2.6 +/- 1.5 ng/ml (range 0-7.0 ng/ml). There was no association between concentrations of benzodiazepine-like substances in breast milk and maternal age, weight, height and body mass or parity, or the sex of the infant and infant birth weight. We suggest that non-detectable amounts of benzodiazepine-like substances in serum are concentrated in the mammillary glands and excreted in a higher concentration in breast milk. It is less likely that the relevant benzodiazepines are produced in the mammillary glands.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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