Leukemia Home > Arzerra and Breastfeeding

The manufacturer of Arzerra (ofatumumab) recommends that women use this drug with caution while nursing. Although it is thought that Arzerra might pass through breast milk, it is not thought that much of the medicine would reach the child's bloodstream. If you are breastfeeding while using Arzerra, make sure to watch for problems in your child, such as diarrhea, a rash, or difficulty breathing.

Can Breastfeeding Women Receive Arzerra?

Arzerra® (ofatumumab) is a prescription medication approved to treat a certain type of leukemia known as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It is meant for use in people who have not adequately responded to or cannot take certain other leukemia medications. At this time, it is not known whether Arzerra passes through breast milk. The manufacturer recommends the medication be used with caution in women who are nursing.

More Information About Arzerra and Breastfeeding

Because Arzerra has not been studied in breastfeeding women, it is unknown whether the medicine passes through breast milk, or whether it may harm a nursing child. However, Arzerra is a synthetic form of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody (a protein made by the immune system). Natural IgG antibodies are known to pass through breast milk, so Arzerra may also pass through breast milk.
However, very little IgG is normally absorbed from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. This is why the medicine cannot be taken by mouth. Therefore, even if it is found in breast milk, it is unlikely that much of the medicine would pass to the nursing child's blood.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that Arzerra has the potential to cause serious side effects, including infections. The risk for these side effects in a nursing infant cannot be ruled out. If your healthcare provider recommends Arzerra while breastfeeding, make sure to observe your infant for any possible Arzerra side effects, including but not limited to:
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • A rash
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Feeding difficulty
  • Excessive crying.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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