Because no research has been done on breastfeeding and Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a), it is not known whether this drug would pass through human breast milk. However, even if Pegasys did pass through breast milk, it would likely be destroyed by the infant's digestive system. Due to the unknown risks, the manufacturer recommends that women not use this medication while nursing.
Can Breastfeeding Women Use Pegasys?
Pegasys® (peginterferon alfa-2a) is a prescription medication approved for treating hepatitis B and C. The manufacturer does not recommend that women use Pegasys while breastfeeding due to the unknown risks. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, you should talk with your healthcare provider before using this medication.
More Information About Pegasys and Breastfeeding
No studies have been conducted on whether Pegasys passes through breast milk in humans. However, other similar interferon medications have been shown to pass though breast milk.
Pegasys is a delicate protein that cannot be taken by mouth. Instead, it must be given as an injection, as the digestive system would destroy the protein. Therefore, even if Pegasys passes through breast milk, it would probably be destroyed by the infant's digestive system.
However, because no studies have been performed, it is impossible to predict exactly what effects (if any) the drug might cause in a nursing infant.
You and your healthcare provider must consider the benefits of using this drug in your particular situation, the benefits of breastfeeding for your baby, and the possible risks Pegasys may pose to your baby.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider
You should discuss breastfeeding and Pegasys with your healthcare provider. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Pegasys [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech, Inc.;2013 May.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed December 5, 2011.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind.
Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click