Statins and Breastfeeding

According to the FDA and several drug manufacturers, breastfeeding women should avoid statin medications. In many cases, no research has been done, so it is not known if it is safe for women to use these drugs while breastfeeding. However, it is theoretically possible that statins could cause serious problems. If you are thinking about breastfeeding and using statins, talk to your healthcare provider first.

Is Taking a Statin While Breastfeeding Safe?

Statins are "contraindicated" for breastfeeding women. This means that, according to the drug manufacturers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), breastfeeding women should not take statin drugs. The full risks are not known, and the benefits do not outweigh the potential risks to the nursing infant.

Breastfeeding and Statins: What Does the Research Say?

For a few statins, research clearly indicates that the medication passes through breast milk. For many others, no research (or only animal research) has been done. Either way, it is not known if it is safe to take any statin while breastfeeding. Cholesterol is important for normal development, and it is possible that statins could cause serious problems, although this risk is currently only theoretical.
The effects of high cholesterol do not cause problems for many years or even decades. Therefore, if a woman does not take her statin or other cholesterol medications during breastfeeding, it will likely have only a minimal impact on her long-term risks. Therefore, it is best to wait until you have weaned your child before starting or resuming a statin medication.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should talk with your healthcare provider about statins and breastfeeding. 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.
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