Pregnancy & Nursing while on
Lithium [posted 10/2/98]
Question: I have bipolar disorder that responds very well to Lithium, 1200mg/day. I recently gave birth to my third child (on 6/21/98). I do not take Lithium during my pregnancy and I feel wonderful (very euthymic) pregnancy seems to be "protective" for me. However, I always have problems in the postpartum period. I want to breastffeed so I do not resume Lithium after delivery.. Now I am 8 weeks postpartum and having hypomanic symptoms (pressured speech, flight of ideas, extreme irritability and emotional lability, difficulty falling asleep) and I know it is time to start lithium. My question: what percent of the plasma concentration of lithium is secreted in breast milk? The PDR says only that lithium is secreted and discourages nursing an infant while on it, but does not elaborate. I would very much like to continue nursing, if only twice a day. Is there any new information on the risks of lithium to the nursing infant?
Most drugs of abuse are addictive. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences and by long-lasting changes in the brain. People who are addicted have strong cravings for the drug, making it difficult to stop using. Most drugs alter a person’s thinking and judgment, which can increase the risk of injury or death from drugged driving or infectious diseases (., HIV/AIDS, hepatitis) from unsafe sexual practices or needle sharing. Drug use during pregnancy can lead to neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition in which a baby can suffer from dependence and withdrawal symptoms after birth. Pregnancy-related issues are listed in the chart below for drugs where there is enough scientific evidence to connect the drug use to negative effects. However, most drugs could potentially harm an unborn baby.