Leukemia Home > Leustatin and Breastfeeding

The manufacturer of Leustatin (cladribine) recommends that women avoid breastfeeding during treatment. It is unclear if the medicine passes through breast milk. However, it is associated with dangerous bleeding, infections, and other problems. Because the risks cannot be ruled out yet, your healthcare provider will likely advise you not to breastfeed if you are taking this drug.

Can Breastfeeding Women Receive Leustatin?

Leustatin® (cladribine) is a prescription anticancer medication. It is used to treat a specific type of leukemia known as hairy cell leukemia. It is not known whether Leustatin passes through breast milk. However, the manufacturer of the drug recommends that women should not breastfeed during Leustatin treatment.

More Information on Leustatin and Breastfeeding

Leustatin has not been studied in nursing women. Therefore, it is unknown whether the medication passes through breast milk, or if it would harm a nursing child. Based on the properties of the drug, it is expected to pass through breast milk to some extent.
Leustatin is associated with potentially serious side effects. For example, the medication can decrease blood cell counts and increase the risk for life-threatening infections, anemia, and bleeding problems.
Until more information is known about using Leustatin while breastfeeding, the potential that serious side effects could occur in a nursing infant cannot yet be ruled out. Therefore, it is generally recommended that women not breastfeed during Leustatin treatment.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should discuss breastfeeding and Leustatin 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.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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