Adderall is commonly used for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy and is an FDA category C pregnancy drug (1). New moms with breastfeeding infants may be prescribed this medicine in some cases.
But is it safe to take Adderall considering it can pass into breast milk and reach the infant? MomJunction answers all questions about Adderall and breastfeeding, and how safe the drug is for your baby.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a combination of two nervous system stimulant drugs namely amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. There are several variants of the medicine including those that release instantly into the system and those that release over an extended duration (Adderall XR).
Why May A Breastfeeding Mother Need Adderall?
Adderall is prescribed to individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (1). The compounds amphetamine and dextroamphetamine present in the drug mimic dopamine, epinephrine (also called adrenaline), and norepinephrine, which are naturally occurring neurotransmitters of the body.
Adderall imitates the functions of these compounds and suppresses the symptoms of ADHD. It makes you more alert, improves clarity of thought, and helps you focus better (2). A breastfeeding mother would need Adderall if she has ADHD, but it can raise concerns about the baby’s safety.
Is It Safe To Have Adderall During Breastfeeding?
Maybe. Because there is limited research on the effect of maternal Adderall usage on the health of the baby. A small dose of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine per day does not seem to have any impact on the health of the baby (3) (4). However, Adderall has a potential of abuse, and a maternal overdose of Adderall can have a detrimental effect on the baby’s health.
Lack of enough evidence on the safety of the drug and its potential for abuse prevents many healthcare providers from recommending Adderall during lactation (1). If a mother chooses to have the medicine, then she should be aware of the potential side effects on herself and the baby.
What Are The Side Effects Of Adderall On A Breastfeeding Mother?
Side effects of Adderall vary from the common ones to more serious ones.
Common side effects of Adderall:
The common side effects can occur with any dosage of the medicine.
- Stomach ache
- Decreased appetite
Serious side effects of Adderall
Severe side effects may usually occur with a large dose, overdose or abuse of Adderall.
- A decrease in prolactin hormone thus reducing milk production
- Increase blood pressure
- Sudden cardiac arrest leading to death
Most ADHD patients who have Adderall for a long time may be able to cope with some of the side effects over time. It is the side effects on the breastfeeding infant that are a matter of significance.
What Are The Side Effects Of Adderall On A Breastfeeding Baby?
There isn’t extensive research on how Adderall affects a breastfeeding infant. Amphetamine can get concentrated in breast milk with, levels reaching seven times of that found in blood (5). Maternal intake of the drug can pave the way for it into the infant’s blood and urine too.
Some research suggests that small and standard dosage of Adderall does not usually have any effect on the infant’s health. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that the most common side effects of Amphetamine in breastfed infants are irritability and poor sleeping patterns (6).
It is not known for how long do these side effects persist and if they have any long-term impact on the health of the baby. In any case, it is best to minimize the possible side-effects of this drug on babies.
When Can I Breastfeed After An Adderall Dose?
You must withhold breastfeeding for 24 hours after your Adderall dosage, although some experts suggest waiting up to 48 hours (7) (8). Express and discard any breast milk for 24-48 hours after dosage.
Some mothers may wish to avoid Adderall entirely during lactation, to prevent the risk of exposure to the baby. However, it puts the mother at risk of a relapse of the ADHD symptoms.
However, you can manage the symptoms with these tips, should you decide to avoid Adderall.
- Get family help: If you choose to live without Adderall, then you will need a lot of support from the family. Talk to your family about how you may become hyperactive and inattentive suddenly after going off the medicine.
It will help them handle the infant and you in situations where you are likely to be hyperactive and impulsive. It will not affect your ability to breastfeed since you will produce milk as usual.
- Look for alternatives: Your doctor can prescribe alternatives to Adderall that are safer for your breastfed infant. The choice of alternatives depends on the extent of your condition and your current Adderall dosage.
- Adjust your dose to the bare minimum: If it is imperative to have Adderall, then discuss with your doctor about adjusting the dose to the bare minimum level. It can let you receive the therapeutic advantages of the medicine without causing any adverse effects to the health of your breastfeeding baby.
Several moms quit Adderall for the complete safety of their breastfeeding baby. The going gets tough when you confront ADHD symptoms once again. But it will be worth all the effort when you realize that your small sacrifice goes a long way in protecting your precious little one’s health.
Have something to share about Adderall while breastfeeding? Leave us your comments in the section below.
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