AIDS Home > Atripla and Breastfeeding

If you are taking HIV medications (such as Atripla), breastfeeding should generally be avoided. Two of the three medicines in Atripla pass through breast milk. In addition, HIV can be transmitted through breastfeeding. Therefore, you should talk to your healthcare provider about Atripla and breastfeeding in your particular situation to further discuss the possible risks.

Atripla and Breastfeeding: An Overview

At least two of the three active ingredients in Atripla™ (efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) pass through breast milk. In addition, breastfeeding is almost never recommended for women with HIV or AIDS in developed countries (such as the United States) in order to reduce the chance of transmitting the HIV infection to the infants though breast milk. Therefore, most women taking Atripla should avoid breastfeeding.

Atripla and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

Efavirenz passes through breast milk in rats, but it is unknown if the same is true for humans. Emtricitabine and tenofovir pass through breast milk in humans. The effects of these drugs on breastfeeding babies are unknown.
Probably more importantly, the HIV virus can pass through breast milk. Therefore, 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.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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