Epilepsy Home > Lamictal XR and Breastfeeding

Lamictal XR (extended-release lamotrigine) does pass through breast milk. However, if your child is old enough, you may still be able to nurse your child while taking it. If you are taking Lamictal XR while breastfeeding, you will need to watch carefully for any side effects in your child, such as drowsiness and skin rashes, which can be quite serious.

Is Lamictal XR Safe for Breastfeeding Women?

Lamictal® XR™ (extended-release lamotrigine) passes through breast milk in humans. The manufacturer suggests that breastfeeding women should not take this medication. Therefore, if you should talk with your healthcare provider about taking Lamictal XR if you are breastfeeding or thinking of starting.
 

What Does the Research Say?

Studies have shown that Lamictal XR passes through breast milk in humans, and nursing infants may be exposed to a significant amount of Lamictal XR through breast milk. Newborns are probably at the highest risk for problems caused by exposure to this drug, since they are too immature to properly metabolize it.
 
If you must take Lamictal XR, this does not necessarily mean you cannot or should not breastfeed your child. If you have permission from your healthcare provider and your child's healthcare provider to breastfeed while taking Lamictal XR, watch carefully for any signs of problems in your child, especially skin rashes, drowsiness, episodes of not breathing (apnea), or poor sucking. Contact your child's healthcare provider immediately if the child has a skin rash, since this can be quite dangerous (see Lamictal Rash).
 
Keep in mind that Lamictal XR is typically used in combination with other seizure medications, each of which may or may not be acceptable for use during breastfeeding.
 
In cases where the mother's Lamictal XR dosage needed to be increased during pregnancy, if the dosage is not reduced after delivery the mother is at risk for very high levels of the drug. This leads to high levels in the milk, which could increase the risks of problems in the infant. If your Lamictal XR dosage was increased during pregnancy, ask your healthcare provider if it should be reduced after delivery.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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