What allergy medicine should i take while breastfeeding

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Cetirizine Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Effects in Breastfed Infants

In one telephone follow-up study, mothers reported irritability and colicky symptoms 10% of infants exposed to various antihistamines and drowsiness was reported in 1.6% of infants. None of the reactions required medical attention.[3]

A lady who was nursing (extent not stated) her newborn baby was treated for pemphigus with oral prednisolone 25 mg daily, with the dosage increased over 2 weeks to 60 mg daily.

She was also taking cetirizine 10 mg daily and topical betamethasone 0.1% twice daily to the lesions. Because of a poor response, the betamethasone was changed to clobetasol propionate ointment 0.05%. She continued breastfeeding throughout treatment and her baby was developing normally at 8 weeks of age and beyond.[4]

A lady with narcolepsy took sodium oxybate 4 grams each night at 10 pm and 2 am as well as fluoxetine 20 mg and cetirizine 5 mg daily throughout pregnancy and postpartum.

She breastfed her baby except for 4 hours after the 10 pm oxybate dose and 4 hours after the 2 am dose. She either pumped breastmilk or breastfed her baby just before each dose of oxybate.

What allergy medicine should i take while breastfeeding

The baby was exclusively breastfed or breastmilk fed for 6 months when solids were introduced. The baby was evaluated at 2, 4 and 6 months with the Ages and Stages Questionnaires, which were withing the normal range as were the infant’s growth and pediatrician’s clinical impressions regarding the infant’s growth and development.[5]

Summary of Use during Lactation

Small occasional doses of cetirizine are probably acceptable during breastfeeding. Larger doses or more prolonged use may cause drowsiness and other effects in the baby or decrease the milk supply, particularly in combination with a sympathomimetic such as pseudoephedrine or before lactation is well established.

The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology recommends cetirizine at its lowest dose as a preferred choice if an antihistamine is required during breastfeeding.[1] Cetirizine has been used successfully in cases of persistent pain of the breast during breastfeeding.[2]

Ophthalmic use of cetirizine by the mom should pose little risk to the breastfed baby. To substantially decrease the quantity of drug that reaches the breastmilk after using eye drops, put pressure over the tear duct by the corner of the eye for 1 minute or more, then remove the excess solution with an absorbent tissue.

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Antihistamines in relatively high doses given by injection can decrease basal serum prolactin in nonlactating women and in early postpartum women.[6][7] However, suckling-induced prolactin secretion is not affected by antihistamine pretreatment of postpartum mothers.[6] Whether lower oral doses of cetirizine own the same effect on serum prolactin or whether the effects on prolactin own any consequences on breastfeeding success own not been studied.

The prolactin level in a mom with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Alternate Drugs to Consider

Desloratadine, Fexofenadine, Loratadine


1. Powell RJ, Du Toit GL, Siddique N et al. BSACI guidelines for the management of chronic urticaria and angio-oedema. Clin Exp Allergy.

What allergy medicine should i take while breastfeeding

2007;37:631-50. PMID: 17456211

2. Muddana A, Asbill DT, Jerath MR et al. Quantitative sensory testing, antihistamines, and beta-blockers for management of persistent breast pain: A case series.

What allergy medicine should i take while breastfeeding

Breastfeed Med. 2018;13:275-80. PMID: 29630399

3. Ito S, Blajchman A, Stephenson M et al. Prospective follow-up of adverse reactions in breast-fed infants exposed to maternal medication. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993;168:1393-9. PMID: 8498418

4. Westermann L, Hugel R, Meier M et al. Glucocorticosteroid-resistant pemphigoid gestationis: successful treatment with adjuvant immunoadsorption. J Dermatol. 2012;39:168-71. PMID: 22379622

5. Gashlin LZ, Sullo D, Lawrence RA et al. Treatment of narcolepsy with sodium oxybate while breastfeeding: A case report.

Breastfeed Med. 2016;11:261-3. PMID: 27057786


What allergy medicine should i take while breastfeeding

Messinis IE, Souvatzoglou A, Fais N et al. Histamine H1 receptor participation in the control of prolactin secretion in postpartum. J Endocrinol Invest. 1985;8:143-6. PMID: 3928731


What allergy medicine should i take while breastfeeding

Pontiroli AE, De Castro e Silva E, Mazzoleni F et al. The effect of histamine and H1 and H2 receptors on prolactin and luteinizing hormone release in humans: sex differences and the role of stress. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1981;52:924-8. PMID: 7228996

istrative Information

LactMed Record Number



Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your specific situation.

The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.

Hay fever remedies

When you seek advice from your pharmacist, GP or health visitor they will take into account factors such as:

  1. how effective the medicine is 
  2. how mild or severe your symptoms are – if your symptoms are mild, you may be capable to manage without treatment
  3. how much of the medicine passes to your baby through your breast milk

If you take hay fever medicine while you’re breastfeeding, you should take the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time, unless your healthcare professional gives you other advice.

Try topical treatments first.

These are medicines that you don’t need to swallow such as nasal sprays and eyedrops.

What allergy medicine should i take while breastfeeding

Corticosteroid nasal sprays assist to unblock your nose and sinuses. They’re unlikely to pass into your breast milk and only in low amounts.

Sodium cromoglicate eyedrops relieve the redness, itchiness and watering of your eyes. It’s unlikely that sodium cromoglicate passes into your breast milk.

Loratadine or cetirizine are the antihistamine tablets recommended if you’re breastfeeding. They can own diverse brand names, so speak to your pharmacist for advice.

These are non-drowsy antihistamines – you should avoid using antihistamines that make you drowsy (sedating) as they can affect your baby if used for more than a short time.

Cetirizine use while Breastfeeding

Drugs containing Cetirizine: Zyrtec, Zyrtec-D, Aller-Tec, Wal-Zyr D, Every Day Allergy, Zyrtec-D 12 Hour, Zerviate, KS Aller-Tec D-12, Equate Allergy Relief, Zyrtec Hives, Show every 23 »Children's Zyrtec, Allergy Relief D, 12 Hour Allergy-D, Every Day Allergy-D, Up and Up Every Day Allergy Relief D, Allergy D-12, Alleroff, Aller-Tec Children's, Children's Allergy Relief, Every Day Allergy Children's, PediaCare Children's 24-Hour Allergy, Quzyttir, Cetiri D

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com.

What allergy medicine should i take while breastfeeding

Final updated on Apr 22, 2019.

Cetirizine Identification

CAS Registry Number


Substance Name


Drug Class

Breast Feeding



What medicines are dangerous to take during breastfeeding?

Sometimes mothers are advised to stop breastfeeding while they are taking some medicines in case they harm the baby.

Examples of medicines that are not suitable while you are breastfeeding include:

Herbal medicines and teas should not be considered safe while you are breastfeeding.

More about cetirizine ophthalmic

Related treatment guides

Medicines and breastfeeding safety

Most medicines are safe to take while you are breastfeeding because they do not pass into your breast milk.

What allergy medicine should i take while breastfeeding

Even if the medicine does enter your milk, it is generally in such a little quantity that it will not affect your baby.

However, some medicines can give your baby diarrhoea or vomiting, or make your baby unusually sleepy or irritable. Other medicines can also make you produce more or less milk than normal.

The quantity of medicine that enters your breast milk and the effect on the baby depend on the age and health of your baby, the type of medicine, how much you take, and when you take it.

Before your doctor prescribes a medication for you, make certain he or she knows that you are breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding mothers rarely own to stop breastfeeding because they are taking medicines.

However, it is significant you get advice from your doctor or pharmacist. They will weigh up the risks and benefits of taking the medicine against any risks for the baby.

You should take special care if your baby was premature, is ill, or is taking medicines themselves.