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Studies on Epivir and breastfeeding show that the medication appears to pass through breast milk. It is generally recommended that women with HIV or AIDS avoid breastfeeding in the first place. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about Epivir and breastfeeding in your particular situation.

Epivir and Breastfeeding: An Overview

Epivir® (lamivudine) passes through breast milk. It is an antiviral medication used to treat HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis B. In almost all situations, it is recommended that women with HIV or AIDS in developed countries (such as the United States) avoid breastfeeding their infants. This helps to lower the chance of transmitting the HIV infection to their infants.

Epivir and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

Studies have shown that Epivir passes through breast milk. It is very important to understand that the HIV virus can pass through breast milk. Any HIV-infected woman who can safely feed her baby with formula should not breastfeed. There are some situations in which formula feeding is not safe, such as when no clean water supply is available to mix the formula or to wash the bottles. In these situations, it is difficult to know whether breastfeeding or formula feeding is more dangerous. In general, using both breastfeeding and formula feeding is considered to be most dangerous, as digestive system irritation or infections from unclean water can allow HIV to pass into the body (from the digestive tract) more easily.
At this time, it is thought that breastfeeding is safe for most women with hepatitis B, since it does not appear that the hepatitis B virus passes through breast milk. However, the manufacturer of Epivir warns that women taking the drug should not breastfeed. It is not known at this time whether Epivir exposure through breast milk is likely to cause problems in a breastfed infant.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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