Common antidepressant drugs linked to lactation difficulties in moms

Jan 26, 2010

According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), women taking commonly used forms of antidepressant drugs may experience delayed lactation after giving birth and may need additional support to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

Breastfeeding benefits both infants and mothers in many ways as breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. The World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. This new study shows that certain common antidepressant drugs may be linked to a common difficulty experienced by new mothers known as delayed secretory activation, defined as a delay in the initiation of full milk secretion.

"The breasts are serotonin-regulated glands, meaning the breasts' ability to secrete milk at the right time is closely related to the body's production and regulation of the hormone serotonin," said Nelson Horseman, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati and co-author of the study. "Common like fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs and while they can affect mood, emotion and sleep they may also impact serotonin regulation in the breast, placing new mothers at greater risk of a delay in the establishment of a full milk supply."

In this study, researchers examined the effects of SSRI drugs on lactation using laboratory studies of human and animal cell lines and genetically modified mice. Furthermore, an observational study evaluated the impact of SSRI drugs on the onset of milk production in postpartum women. In this study of 431 postpartum women, median onset of lactation was
85.8 hours postpartum for the SSRI-treated mothers and 69.1 hours for mothers not treated with SSRI drugs. Researchers commonly define delayed secretory activation as occurring later than 72 hours postpartum.

"SSRI drugs are very helpful medications for many moms, so understanding and ameliorating difficulties moms experience can help them achieve their goals for breastfeeding their babies," said Horseman. "More human research is needed before we can make specific recommendations regarding SSRI use during breastfeeding."

Explore further: First newborn screening test approved for rare immune disorder

More information: The article, "Serotonin transport and metabolism in the mammary gland modulates secretory activation and involution," will appear in the February 2010 issue of JCEM.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Treating SSRI-resistant depression

Mar 25, 2008

When your antidepressant medication does not work, should you switch to a different medication from the same class or should you try an antidepressant medication that has a different mechanism of action" This is the question ...

Link Between Antidepressants and Birth Defect

Sep 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers in Denmark have studied almost half a million Danish children and found a slightly higher rate of septal heart abnormalities in babies whose mothers took an SSRI antidepressant ...

Serotonin Made in Breast Cancer Cells, Researchers Show

Nov 24, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have documented that the brain hormone serotonin is made in human breast cancer cells and functions abnormally, contributing to malignant growth.

Codeine not safe for all breastfeeding moms and their babies

Aug 20, 2008

Using pain treatments which contain codeine may be risky for some breastfeeding mothers, according to researchers at The University of Western Ontario, and the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto. Lead author ...

Recommended for you

New system targets germs in donated blood plasma

7 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A new system designed to eliminate germs in donated blood plasma and reduce the risk of transmitting a plasma-borne infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Judge halts Alzheimer's drug swap until July

Dec 16, 2014

A federal judge has ordered an Irish drug manufacturer to halt its plans to discontinue its widely used Alzheimer's medication, allegedly in an effort to drive patients to a newer patented drug.

India court blocks Bayer generic drug appeal

Dec 13, 2014

An Indian court has rejected German drug giant Bayer's bid to block a generic version of its blockbuster cancer treatment Nexavar by a local drugmaker, a move hailed by activists on Saturday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.