AIDS Home > Intelence and Breastfeeding

Since no studies have been conducted on Intelence (etravirine) and breastfeeding, it is not known if the drug passes through breast milk. It is almost always recommended that women with HIV or AIDS avoid breastfeeding, however, in order to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to their infants. Talk with your healthcare provider about breastfeeding and Intelence in your particular situation (as everyone's situation varies).

Taking Intelence While Breastfeeding: An Overview

It is not known if Intelence® (etravirine) passes through breast milk in humans. However, this is probably not important for most women. 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 Intelence should not breastfeed, regardless of whether the medication passes through breast milk.

What Does the Research Say?

It is not known if Intelence passes though breast milk in humans (although studies have shown that it passes through breast milk in rats). More importantly, 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 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 to be most dangerous, as digestive system irritation or infections from unclean water (from formula) can allow HIV to pass into the body (from the digestive tract) more easily.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should talk with your healthcare provider about Intelence 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, you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about Intelence and breastfeeding that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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