Retrovir and Breastfeeding

In studies on Retrovir and breastfeeding, the drug passed through breast milk in women. Since it is generally recommended that women with HIV avoid breastfeeding to prevent transmitting the infection to the infant, it can also be assumed that women who are taking Retrovir for HIV should not breastfeed. Talk to your healthcare provider about Retrovir and breastfeeding to learn about the potential risks.

Retrovir and Breastfeeding: An Overview

Retrovir® (zidovudine) passes through breast milk. It is almost always recommended that women with HIV or AIDS in developed countries (such as the United States) not breastfeed in order to reduce the chances of transmitting the infection to the infant. Therefore, most women taking Retrovir should avoid breastfeeding.

Retrovir and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

Studies have shown that Retrovir passes though breast milk. More importantly perhaps, the HIV virus also passes through breast milk. Any woman who is infected with HIV who can safely feed her baby 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 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 Retrovir and Breastfeeding

You should talk with your healthcare provider about Retrovir 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 Retrovir and breastfeeding that is right for you.
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