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Nitroglycerin and Breastfeeding

It is unknown whether nitroglycerin passes through breast milk or if it would harm a nursing infant. It is thought that if this drug does pass through breast milk, it could cause headaches and low blood pressure in an infant. Before using nitroglycerin, breastfeeding women should talk to their healthcare provider.

Can Breastfeeding Women Use Nitroglycerin?

At this time, it is unknown if nitroglycerin (Minitran™, Nitro-Bid®, Nitro-Dur®, Nitrolingual®, NitroMist®, Nitrostat®, Rectiv™) passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, you should talk with your healthcare provider before using nitroglycerin. The manufacturer recommends that women use this drug with caution while breastfeeding.

More Information on Nitroglycerin and Breastfeeding

No research has been done to see if nitroglycerin passes through breast milk. This lack of research likely reflects the fact that nitroglycerin is most often used to prevent or treat chest pain (angina) due to coronary artery disease, a condition that is quite rare in young women.
Based on the known actions and side effects of nitroglycerin, if the drug does pass through breast milk, it is reasonable to expect that it could cause low blood pressure (hypotension) and headaches in the infant.
Nitroglycerin ointment is sometimes used to treat anal fissures. In one study of 40 breastfeeding women who used nitroglycerin ointment to treat postpartum anal fissures, no problems were seen in the babies. It is unclear if other forms of nitroglycerin would be similarly safe.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should discuss breastfeeding and nitroglycerin use with your healthcare provider. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision that is right for you.
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