Fludara and Breastfeeding

The manufacturer of Fludara (fludarabine) recommends that women either stop breastfeeding or stop treatment with this drug. Although no studies have been done to determine whether this drug passes through breast milk or if it would harm a nursing infant, the drug is associated with potentially dangerous side effects, which may pose a risk to a baby whose mother receives it while nursing.

Can Breastfeeding Women Receive Fludara?

Fludara® (fludarabine phosphate) is a prescription chemotherapy medication used in the treatment of a certain type of leukemia. It is not known whether Fludara passes through breast milk. The manufacturer of the medication recommends that nursing women either stop breastfeeding or stop Fludara treatment.

More Information on Fludara and Breastfeeding

Fludara has not been studied in breastfeeding women. Therefore, it is unknown whether the medication passes through breast milk, or if it would harm a nursing child. Although this lack of information is certainly frustrating, it is important to note that studies of medicines are rarely done in breastfeeding women, as this would expose an infant, who would otherwise not likely benefit from the medication, to potential problems.
Many medicines pass through breast milk. Fludara is associated with potentially serious side effects, including the risk for infections, anemia, and bleeding problems. Because of the potential for Fludara side effects to occur in a nursing child, it is probably safest to avoid breastfeeding during treatment.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should discuss breastfeeding and Fludara use with your healthcare provider. 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 that is right for you.
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