Camptosar and Breastfeeding

Based on the properties of Camptosar (irinotecan), it is expected that the drug would pass through breast milk. Because this chemotherapy medication is associated with potentially serious complications, the manufacturer recommends that women not breastfeed while using Camptosar. If you do nurse during treatment with this drug, watch for problems in your child, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive crying.

Can Breastfeeding Women Receive Camptosar?

Camptosar® (irinotecan) is a prescription medication used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat colon or rectal cancer that has spread to other areas of the body. At this time, it is generally recommended that women not breastfeed during Camptosar treatment.
 

More Information on Camptosar and Breastfeeding

No research has been done on the use of Camptosar in breastfeeding women. However, based on the properties of the medication, it is expected to pass through breast milk. Also, in animal studies, the drug appeared in the breast milk of rats within five minutes of an intravenous (IV) dose. The drug was still present in the rats' breast milk four hours after the dose.
 
Like most chemotherapy medicines, Camptosar is associated with serious side effects. An infant exposed to this medicine through breast milk could develop serious problems. In most cases, the possible risks of these problems outweigh the benefits of breastfeeding. The manufacturer of the drug recommends that women who are receiving Camptosar not breastfeed.
 
However, if a woman does breastfeed, the nursing infant should be closely monitored. Contact the child's healthcare provider if your nursing infant develops any potentially serious side effects, such as:
 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Excessive crying
  • Hair loss
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice).
 
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD; Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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