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Anxiety and breastfeeding – need to take a drug to relieve symptoms

I was very proud to have co written a fact sheet for BfN on anxiety and breastfeeding which affects so many new mothers. Beth is a CBT therapist and approached the treatment with non pharmacological methods available via IAPT and IESO (although with a waiting list sadly for most).

I looked at the relief of symptoms with long-term treatments such as SSRI drugs e.g. sertraline, citalopram, fluoxetine and paroxetine. Mothers may also be helped with propranolol to relieve palpitations and racing heart.

Recently there have been more requests from mothers with anxiety or post traumatic stress to take benzodiazepine to reduce symptoms or to treat a panic attack. Occasional use might be acceptable with monitoring of the baby for drowsiness and effective feeding. However, regular use is not encouraged – particularly of diazepam – because of its long half life and potential to accumulate in breastmilk and the baby, but also because this family of drugs is addictive with as little as 28 days treatment.

I have written this factsheet to provide as much information as possible on the use of anxiolytics diazepam, loprazolam and alparazolam during breastfeeding.

anxiolytics and breastfeeding factsheet

The information is taken from Breastfeeding and Medication which includes full references . Please consider buying the book if this information is useful