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Reproductive & Child Health News

Antidepressant Use in Mothers Will Not Harm Breastfed Infants
August 1, 1999

A new study suggests that postpartum initiation of antidepressant therapy in mothers is safe for infants who are breastfed. Researchers at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, MA, examined levels of psychiatric medications in the blood of 35 infants breastfed by mothers treated with various medications, including Prozac, Pamelor, Paxil, and the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin. The study found that while trace amounts of antidepressants were detected in the blood of infants whose mothers took the drugs during pregnancy, infants whose mothers began antidepressant drug therapy after giving birth did not have detectable levels of medication in their blood. Researchers note that little is known about the impact of maternal use of psychiatric medications on the long-term neurological development of offspring, but say that both mother and infant may derive great health benefits from both breastfeeding and the treatment of maternal depression. Reported in the electronic version of the journal "Pediatrics" (1999;104/1/e11).

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