Emtriva and Breastfeeding

Emtriva has been shown to pass through breast milk, but it is unclear if the drug would cause problems in a nursing infant. In general, it is almost always recommended that women with HIV or AIDS avoid breastfeeding to prevent transmitting the HIV virus to their infant. Because each woman's situation is different, talk to your healthcare provider about taking Emtriva and breastfeeding.

Emtriva and Breastfeeding: An Overview

Emtriva® (emtricitabine) passes through breast milk. Probably more importantly, though, it is almost always recommended that women with HIV or AIDS in developed countries (such as the United States) avoid breastfeeding in order to reduce the chance of transmitting the HIV infection to their infants. Therefore, most women taking Emtriva should not breastfeed.

Emtriva and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

Research has shown that Emtriva passes through breast milk, although it is unclear if it could cause any problems in the babies exposed to the drug through breast milk. There is some thought that babies exposed to Emtriva through breast milk might develop resistance to the drug (meaning that the drug would fail to be effective in the baby, if the baby needed to be treated for HIV).
It is very important to understand that the HIV virus can pass through breast milk. Any HIV-infected woman who can safely feed her baby with formula should not breastfeed. There are some situations in which formula feeding is not safe, such as if no clean water supply is available to mix the formula or wash the bottles. In these situations, it is difficult to know whether breastfeeding or formula feeding is more dangerous. In general, using both breastfeeding and formula feeding is considered to be the most dangerous situation, as digestive system irritation or infections from unclean water can allow HIV to pass into the body (from the digestive tract) more easily.
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