Kaletra and Breastfeeding

For women with HIV or AIDS (including those who are taking Kaletra), breastfeeding is generally not recommended. While it is not known whether the drug passes through breast milk, it is known that HIV can be transmitted through breast milk. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about the safety of Kaletra and breastfeeding in your particular situation.

Kaletra and Breastfeeding: An Overview

It is not known if Kaletra® (lopinavir and ritonavir) passes through breast milk in women. However, women with HIV or AIDS in developed countries (such as the United States) are almost always advised to avoid breastfeeding to reduce the chance of transmitting the HIV infection to their infants. Therefore, most women taking Kaletra should avoid breastfeeding.

Kaletra and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

Studies have demonstrated that Kaletra passes through breast milk in rats, but no studies have evaluated the drug in breastfeeding women. Based on the chemical structures of lopinavir and ritonavir, it is likely that Kaletra will pass through breast milk in women. More importantly, the HIV virus can also 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 to 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 the most dangerous, as digestive system irritation or infections from unclean water can allow HIV to pass into the body from the digestive tract more easily.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Kaletra and Breastfeeding

You should talk with your healthcare provider about Kaletra and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision about Kaletra and breastfeeding that is right for you.
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