Migraine Treatment and Breastfeeding

Women with migraine may be concerned about breastfeeding due to fears of exposing the baby to medication. However, many medications can be safely taken during breastfeeding, including acetaminophen (Tylenol), anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), and sumatriptan (Imitrex).

There are several good resources for patients and health care providers to use when making a decision regarding medication use during breastfeeding. These include:

  1. Medications and Motherss Milk by Thomas Hale, PhD. This is a comprehensive manual updated every two years. It lists medications alphabetically, lists the pregnancy category, and gives a breastfeeding (lactation) rating based on what is currently known about a particular medication. To access this resource: www.iBreastfeeding.com
  2. Lactation Database An online reference database that is part of the National Library of Medicine’s TOXNET system. It includes information on drugs and lactation, including potential effects in breastfeeding infants. This database can be accessed by clicking on: https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/ and there is a free downloadable. This database can be useful for both patients and health care providers. Enter the name of the medication and then all available information, including recent published studies, is listed.

Susan Hutchinson, MD, Director, Orange County Migraine & Headache Center, Irvine, CA.