Leukemia Home > Rituxan and Breastfeeding

It is unknown if Rituxan (rituximab) is harmful for nursing infants, or even if it passes through human breast milk. According to the manufacturer of Rituxan, breastfeeding women should carefully weigh the potential risks and the benefits. By talking to your healthcare provider, the two of you can make a decision that is right for your specific situation.

Can Breastfeeding Women Receive Rituxan?

At this time, it is unknown if Rituxan® (rituximab) passes through breast milk in humans. The manufacturer recommends that women consider both the unknown risks of the medication and the benefits of breastfeeding when choosing whether to receive Rituxan while breastfeeding.

Important Information on Rituxan and Breastfeeding

Currently, no research has been done to see if Rituxan passes through breast milk in humans, although it has been shown to pass through breast milk in monkeys. In addition, it is unknown if this medication would be absorbed to any significant extent from the digestive tract of the infant. It is also unknown if Rituxan could cause any serious problems in a breastfed infant.
In general, very little is known about the safety of most drugs during breastfeeding, as it is usually considered unethical to study medications in breastfeeding women. Although this lack of information can be frustrating, it is important to understand that this restriction is designed to protect babies, who cannot protect themselves and cannot consent to such studies.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should discuss breastfeeding and Rituxan 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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