Thursday, April 13, 2006

LactMed - Drug Reference for Breastfeeding

LactMed is a new database provided by the National Library of Medicine as part of the TOXNET toxicology data network. Don't let that scare you away - this is a fairly easy-to-use resource that provides basic information on the safety of drugs in breastfeeding. Simply put a drug name in the search box and select from the results to view information on drug levels and effects, effects in breastfed infants, possible effects on lactation, and alternative drugs to consider. References are included.

For example, I entered Tylenol in the search box. The first search result was acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. I clicked on that, and found out that, "Acetaminophen is a good choice for analgesia, and fever reduction in nursing mothers. Amounts in milk are much less than doses usually given to infants. Adverse effects in breastfed infants appear to be rare." Very cool.

As another example, say you enter "chemotherapy" in the search box. The first result is the very popular Tamoxifen (often used in breast cancer patients). Click on the record to find out, "Since tamoxifen can suppress postpartum lactation and its excretion into breastmilk is not known, it should be avoided in nursing mothers."

This a very interesting resource. It is brand new, so it may not yet include every possible drug. However, it's worth a look.

PS - One other useful TOXNET-related resource is the Household Products Database. You can search or browse for products and ingredients to find out about common household products such as beauty products, pet supplies, cleaning aids, and others. For example, click here to find out about the acute and chronic health effects, carcinogenicity (cancer-causing potential), flammability, handling, and disposal of Crest White Strips - it even tells you what to do if you somehow get them in your eye or eat them. Good information for parents with kids inclined to eat, spill, or touch things. That would be all of them. :)

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MeSH Tags: Hazardous Substances; Household Products; Lactation/drug effects; Milk, Human/drug effects

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