Ziagen and Breastfeeding

In animal studies on Ziagen and breastfeeding, the drug passed through breast milk in rats. However, there have not been any studies done to see if the medication passes through breast milk in humans. Because 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 Ziagen for HIV should not breastfeed.

Ziagen and Breastfeeding: An Overview

Currently, it is not known if Ziagen® (abacavir sulfate) passes through breast milk. It is almost always recommended that women with HIV or AIDS in developed countries (such as the United States) avoid breastfeeding their infants in order to reduce the chance of transmitting the HIV infection to their infants. Therefore, most women taking Ziagen should not breastfeed.

Ziagen and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

It is not known if Ziagen passes though breast milk in humans (although studies have shown that it passes through breast milk in rats). 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 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 situation, 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 Ziagen and Breastfeeding

You should talk with your healthcare provider about Ziagen 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 Ziagen and breastfeeding in your particular situation.
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