We know that breastfeeding moms have lots of questions about milk, breastfeeding, and medication. In this ongoing series, “Know Your Meds,” we’ll include information and research on a variety of medications so that you can make informed and safe decisions during your breastfeeding journey. This post is all about prednisone and breastfeeding, and addresses the decisions you’ll be weighing when deciding whether or not to take this corticosteroid medication.
What is Prednisone?
Prednisone works by replacing steroids that the body normally produces naturally to treat low levels of corticosteroids. This medication also works to treat other conditions by reducing swelling and redness and by influencing the immune system. Prednisone is commonly used to treat certain types of arthritis, severe allergic reactions, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and certain conditions that affect the lungs, skin, eyes, kidneys blood, thyroid, stomach, and intestines.
Commonly used brand names for this medication are:
- Prednisone Intensol
Is Prednisone While Breastfeeding Safe?
According to the LactMed drug and lactation database, “no adverse effects have been reported in breastfed infants with maternal use of any corticosteroid during breastfeeding,” which includes prednisone. The database entry also says that for large or long-term doses, “the use of prednisolone instead of prednisone and avoiding breastfeeding for 4 hours after a dose theoretically should decrease the dose received by the infant.” However, that measure is generally not thought necessary for short term use.
The LactMed database also notes that large doses of prednisone may temporarily lessen milk supply, so be aware of this potential side effect when considering this medication.
These questions from KellyMom can help you know whether or not a medication is safe for a breastfeeding mom:
- Does the mother need this medication right now, or is it something she can easily postpone until the baby is older?
- How old is the breastfeeding child?
- Is the breastfeeding child healthy?
- Is the medication in question one with a record of being safely given directly to babies and young children?
According to the current research, prednisone is likely safe for use while breastfeeding. If you have questions about using prednisone while breastfeeding, you can call the Infant Risk Center at 1-806-352-2519 or speak with your physician or other relevant care provider.