AIDS Home > Viracept and Breastfeeding

It is usually not recommended to breastfeed while taking an HIV medication such as Viracept. Breastfeeding should be avoided in general in women with HIV or AIDS, because the virus may be transmitted to the nursing child. Since every woman's situation is different, however, you should talk to your healthcare provider about Viracept and breastfeeding in your particular situation.

Viracept and Breastfeeding: An Overview

At this time, it is not known whether Viracept® (nelfinavir mesylate) passes through breast milk in humans. Most importantly, 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 risk of transmitting the HIV infection to their infants. Therefore, most women taking Viracept should avoid breastfeeding.

Viracept and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

Studies have demonstrated that Viracept passes through breast milk in rats, but no studies have evaluated Viracept in breastfeeding women. 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 to be 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 Viracept and Breastfeeding

You should talk with your healthcare provider about Viracept 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 Viracept and breastfeeding in your particular situation.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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