It is difficult for pregnant and lactating mothers to choose medicines. The list of approved drugs is quite limited and a doctor’s consultation is constantly required. Women who have given birth may experience headaches, toothaches, abdominal pains, and so on. They want to remove these sensations, but there is a fear of taking any drugs because of the connection with the child through milk.
Many pharmaceuticals have high bioavailability and increased permeability. They get into the milk, having an invisible effect on the health of the child. To endure severe pain is also harmful and a stalemate arises.
The most well-known and widely used pain reliever in the US is Tylenol. Can you take Tylenol while breastfeeding? Is it safe for the baby? How often can you use it? We will answer these questions in this article.
What is Tylenol?
Tylenol is an acetaminophen-based combination drug. Available in the form of tablets or capsules. Its primary action is analgesia. The annotation also indicates the properties to relieve heat and inflammation. Sometimes it contains caffeine. It reduces drowsiness and reduces the feeling of fatigue, and has an effect on the cardiovascular system (increases heart rate and increases blood pressure).
Tylenol belongs to the category of over-the-counter drugs. It is used to suppress pain of mild to moderate intensity: headaches, sore throats, menstrual pains, and toothaches. It is used for fever as an antipyretic.
It is an analgesic non-narcotic drug that is widely used throughout the world. The analgesic acts on the centers of pain and thermoregulation and is well absorbed and excreted by the body. Tylenol in this situation is not very effective despite the indicated anti-inflammatory properties.
Can you take Tylenol while breastfeeding?
Tylenol is approved for use during lactation. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health and Nursing recommend taking Tylenol when needed. During pregnancy with great restrictions and lactation freely with the approval of the attending physician. Take Tylenol for severe and unbearable pain. Don’t forget about annotation rules and precautions.
What is the risk for a child when taking Tylenol?
Almost all drugs present in the blood enter the milk when they are used by a breastfeeding woman. The concentration of substances from the composition of the preparations is always different. Each remedy should be considered individually and with the advice of a doctor. Are there risks to the baby from maternal Tylenol use?
Studies have shown that the risks of using Tylenol are minimal. The drug belongs to the category of safe. Here are some scientifically proven facts:
Approval by the American Academy of Pediatrics – Tylenol is approved by the AAP and is listed as safe for nursing mothers. The use of Tylenol is acceptable even when feeding newborns and premature babies.
Low concentration in breast milk – Acetaminophen is excreted in the mother’s milk in the smallest doses. The amount of the active substance found in milk is 0.04-0.23% of the dose according to studies. This degree of concentration is safe for the child.
Absence of clinically proven complications in the child – No serious health complications have been reported with Tylenol. There is a possibility of mild dermatitis if there is a high sensitivity to the drug.
No effect on the child’s central nervous system – Tylenol intake wasn’t associated with neurodevelopmental disorders in children. No association with ADHD, hyperactivity, autism spectrum disorders, or other conditions.
Does not settle in the kidneys and is not found in the urine – Traces of the components of the drug were not found in the urine of infants. The minimum doses that enter the milk through the mother’s blood are practically imperceptible for laboratory studies.
Low degree of hepatotoxicity for the child – Tylenol belongs to the category of hepatotoxic substances. The impact on the structural and functional properties of the liver is minimized due to the immaturity of the liver in young children. The components of the drug do not turn into toxic metabolites.
Opinion of manufacturers, experts, and medical associations – Tylenol is rated L1. This is a marker of the safest drugs for lactation. This means that the medicine has been studied and most of the women taking it have not noticed any side effects on the child.
Possible risks for the mother when taking Tylenol
The state of the woman’s immune system does not allow her to be fully protected in the first few months after childbirth. The body is vulnerable to stress, allergens, viruses, and infections. Any medications used during this period must be approved by the attending physician.
The deterioration of the health of a nursing mother directly affects the condition of the child. Here are the most likely side effects for women taking Tylenol while breastfeeding:
Manifestations on the skin – Skin itching, rashes, and dermatitis may occur. There are cases of angioedema, erythema multiforme exudative (including Stevens-Johnson syndrome), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (Lyell’s syndrome)
Central nervous system – Side effects are manifested when doses are not observed and they are significantly exceeded. Of the most common: dizziness, fainting, psychomotor agitation, and loss of orientation.
Digestion – Pain in the epigastrium, nausea, hepatonecrosis, and an increase in the number of “liver” enzymes. The degree of hypotoxicity of the drug increases with high doses and long-term use. May cause nausea and intestinal discomfort.
Circulatory system and heart – There is a risk of developing anemia, the appearance of pain in the heart, and shortness of breath with self-medication. The blood pressure rises and the heart rate increases. There is a high risk of developing leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia as a result of the long-term use of Tylenol.
Urinary system – Careless use of the drug provokes the appearance of pulling pains and colic in the kidneys. Rarely, necrosis or renal failure occurs.
We emphasize that such consequences are typical only if the instructions and recommendations of the doctor are not followed. Adverse reactions are minimal with the dosed use of Tylenol.
How should breastfeeding women take Tylenol?
Instructions for use in painkillers always say different things about doses and duration of use. Tylenol is no exception in this case. Most manufacturers indicate in the annotations to the medicine that it is allowed during lactation only as directed by a doctor.
Tylenol is recommended to be taken no more than 10 days during lactation. No longer than 3 days as an antipyretic. The drug is taken orally between meals. Cannot be used on an empty stomach. The interval between doses should not be less than 4-6 hours. One dose of the drug is 500 mg. The daily rate should not exceed 2 grams as prescribed by a doctor.
If the dose prescribed by the doctor is high, it is recommended to stop breastfeeding and express milk. The period of excretion of the active substance from the mother’s body is from 2 hours (half-life) to 24 hours (full excretion).
In what situations is it better to avoid the use of Tylenol?
The pain syndrome is difficult to endure. But it happens that the risks from taking medications are much higher than from the poor health of a breastfeeding woman. In what situations is it recommended to refrain from taking Tylenol?
Hepatosis in the mother or child – It is better to stop Tylenol if a breastfeeding woman has serious liver problems, which are based on metabolic disorders. Do not use Tylenol for congenital dystrophic changes in the baby’s liver and the presence of jaundice.
Severe dermatitis in a child – It is necessary to exclude all possible allergens in the presence of caustic red spots on the skin of the face that does not go away for a long time. Medicines often give such an adverse reaction to the skin of the baby.
Hypertension – Tylenol will not help with headaches due to high blood pressure. His directed action is likely to exacerbate the situation. It is better not to take this drug in a state of hypertensive crisis.
Pathological conditions or congenital problems with the CNS – It is best to minimize or eliminate medication if the baby has serious health problems and you continue to breastfeed. Not all potential exposures to Tylenol in children have been investigated.
Diseases of the kidneys – Mother and child are at risk when taking medications in certain diagnoses. The process of removing Tylenol from the body can be complicated by existing pathologies of the kidneys or ureters.
Precautions for taking Tylenol while breastfeeding
Women who want to keep their babies healthy should always be careful when taking even safe medicines. Tylenol is low-risk but has some properties that can be harmful if not taken care of. Follow these simple rules when taking acetaminophen:
By prescription – You can use the medicine only as prescribed by the doctor and following the annotation recommendations. Do not exceed the maximum permitted dose per day and at one time.
Do not combine intake with caffeinated drinks – If you like coffee or strong tea, it is better to exclude these drinks on the day of admission. The risk of a high blood pressure surge is inevitable when Tylenol is combined with caffeinated drinks.
Do not take with other Tylenol-based products – Tylenol should not be used with any other product containing Tylenol or its analogs. The active substance is rapidly concentrated in tissues and organs due to its high penetrating power. This increases its presence in milk.
Choose the time of consumption – You can reduce the amount of acetaminophen passing into breast milk by choosing the timing of the medication. It is best to drink Tylenol soon after feeding. The maximum concentration of the substance is typical for the first 30–40 minutes.
Watch the child’s reaction – Pay close attention to how your baby reacts to the smallest dose of Tylenol. Whether there is a rash, new spots, whether the stomach hurts, whether the baby becomes more drowsy, harmful, or restless. Stop taking the medicine when fixing negative symptoms.