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Can I take Brovana if I have COPD and I'm breastfeeding?

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Updated November 23, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Can I take Brovana if I have COPD and I'm breastfeeding?

Brovana (arformoterol tartrate) is a slow-acting bronchodilator used to treat patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). While this condition usually affects women who are past childbearing, it may be diagnosed when you’re in your early to mid 40s (especially if you have a genetic condition know as Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Deficiency). So if you find yourself in your 40s, a time when women are increasingly giving birth and hoping to breastfeed, is it safe to take Brovana for your COPD?

Answer:

The short answer is that we don’t know, so you need to discuss with your doctor the best options for maintaining your health and your baby’s well-being.

Because COPD is rare among women of childbearing age, research is difficult to conduct. There are no studies specifically on Brovana and breastfeeding, so we don’t know whether or not the medication passes through breast milk in humans. What we do know:

  • Research has shown that Brovana passes through breast milk in rats.
  • It has also been found that a similar compound, salmeterol which is used to treat asthma, is excreted in breast milk.

The manufacturer of Brovana recommends using the drug with caution while breastfeeding, as there may be extremely serious side effects that could occur in the nursing baby. At the same time, if your doctor recommends taking Brovana while breastfeeding, it is critical that you watch for any side effects in your baby.

As usual, always be sure to speak with your doctor before taking any medication.

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