No studies have been done on Avastin and breastfeeding. However, since similar molecules do pass through breast milk, the manufacturer recommends that women avoid breastfeeding while taking it. Furthermore, the drug can stay in the body for a long time even after treatment is stopped. Thus, if you are taking Avastin and breastfeeding is something that you are considering, it's important to discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Avastin and Breastfeeding: An Overview
At this time, it is unknown if Avastin® (bevacizumab) passes through breast milk in humans, although similar molecules are known to pass through breast milk. The manufacturer of the drug does not recommend that women breastfeed while taking it. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or are thinking about breastfeeding, you should talk with your healthcare provider before taking Avastin.
In late 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that Avastin's breast cancer approval be removed. Studies have not shown the drug to increase survival in people with breast cancer, and there is not sufficient benefit to outweigh the risks.
This action does not affect Avastin's approval for other uses. Healthcare providers may still use Avastin to treat breast cancer, although they will be doing so in an "off-label" fashion.
Avastin and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?
No studies have been done to see if Avastin passes through breast milk in humans. Because similar molecules pass through breast milk, it is possible (perhaps even likely) that Avastin will, too. The drug works by inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels, so it may cause serious problems in growing infants. In general, women are advised to avoid breastfeeding while taking it. In addition, because Avastin stays in the body for an extremely long time (several months), women are also advised to avoid breastfeeding for several months after taking it.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Avastin [package insert]. San Francisco (CA): Genentech, Inc.;2013 January.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. FDA begins process to remove breast cancer indication from Avastin label (12/16/2010). FDA Web site. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2010/ucm237172.htm. Accessed March 15, 2011.
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