Viread and Breastfeeding

Women are generally recommended to avoid breastfeeding while taking Viread. Breastfeeding could be dangerous because the HIV virus passes through breast milk and can be transmitted to the nursing infant. Since every woman's situation is different, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about Viread and breastfeeding in your particular situation to discuss the potential risks.

Viread and Breastfeeding: An Overview

Currently, it is not known if Viread® (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) passes through breast milk. However, 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. Therefore, most women taking Viread for HIV or AIDS should avoid breastfeeding. It is not clear if women taking Viread for chronic hepatitis B should also avoid breastfeeding.

Viread and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

It is not known if Viread passes though breast milk in humans, although studies have shown that it passes through breast milk in rats. More importantly, the HIV virus can also 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.
In general, breastfeeding is usually safe for women with hepatitis B, since the risk of transmitting the virus to the child appears to be quite small. Additionally, babies born to women with hepatitis B are given a vaccination and a medication right after delivery to help protect them from the virus. However, it is not clear if Viread is safe use by breastfeeding women with hepatitis B, since it is not known if the medication could pass through breast milk.
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