The Use of Psychotropic Medications with Breastfeeding Women: Applying the available evidence

Abstract

Breastfeeding women may be prescribed a psychotropic medication to treat a pre-existing illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, or to treat an illness that develops as a direct result of pregnancy and childbirth, such as depression. Mental health nurses are often not aware that many psychotropic medications are considered relatively safe for the infant as well as the breastfeeding woman.

This paper provides the clinician with an overview of the major psychotropic medications for breastfeeding women and outlines their potential impact on the infant. Guidelines for the use of these medications are also provided for mental health nurses based on the available evidence.

Authors

Kim Usher
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Cairns QLD

Kim Foster
Mental Health Nursing, Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW

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Keywords

breastfeeding, psychotropic medications, mental health nursing, evidence

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