Antiepileptic drugs and breastfeeding

Riccardo Davanzo, Sara Dal Bo, Jenny Bua, Marco Copertino, Elisa Zanelli, Lorenza Matarazzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. This review provides a synopsis for clinicians on the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in the breastfeeding mother. Methods. For each AED, we collected all retrievable data from Hale's "Medications and Mother Milk" (2012), from the LactMed database (2013) of the National Library of Medicine, and from a MedLine Search of relevant studies in the past 10 years. Results: Older AEDs, such as carbamazepine, valproic acid, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone are considered to have a good level of safety during lactation, due to the long term clinical experience and the consequent amount of available data from the scientific literature. On the contrary, fewer data are available on the use of new AEDs. Therefore, gabapentin, lamotrigine, oxcarbazepine, vigabatrin, tiagabine, pregabalin, leviracetam and topiramate are compatible with breastfeeding with a less documented safety profile. Ethosuximide, zonisamide and the continue use of clonazepam and diazepam are contraindicated during breastfeeding. Conclusions: Although the current available advice on the use of AEDs during breastfeeding, given by different accredited sources, present some contradictions, most AEDs can be considered safe according to our review.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalItalian Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Breastfeeding
  • Lactation risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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