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World Breastfeeding Week: Local Pharmacy Chain Says Proper Medication Intake during Breastfeeding is Essential

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In conjunction with the World breastfeeding week (Aug 1 – Aug 7), Alpro Pharmacy Moms & Babies Specialty Pharmacist Eugenne Teo Ying Hui reminds new parents, especially breastfeeding mothers, of the importance of proper medication and supplement intake during the breastfeeding phase.

Eugenne said, “Breastfeeding mothers must take note of these guidelines as minute mistakes in medicine intake during the breastfeeding period are hazardous to the baby and the mother.

“One should always consult a doctor or a pharmacist to ensure their medicine and supplement intake are suitable,” added Eugenne.

According to the Ministry of Health, prescription and over-the-counter medications applied to the skin, eyes, or nose or inhaled, such as drugs for asthma and those commonly prescribed to infants, are safe while breastfeeding. But it can vary depending on the trimester and the breastfeeding period.

As the largest prescription pharmacy chain in Malaysia, Alpro follows the Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Medicines Guideline (PBMG) by Royal Women’s Hospital in Australia, which emphasises five categories of medicines during this period classified by FDA;

Category A: No risk found in human studies (For example, Paracetamol, Diphenhydramine)

Category B: No risk found in animal studies (insufficient studies in humans) (For example, Cetirizine, Domperidone)

Category C: Risk cannot be ruled out. There have been no conclusive studies in pregnant women, but animal studies have indicated a risk to the fetus (For example, Ibuprofen, Promethazine)

Category D: Evidence of risk (proven studies have indicated a risk to the fetus) (For example, Albendazole, Fluconazole)

Category X: Contraindicated (proven studies in pregnant women have indicated a risk to the fetus and can lead to fetal abnormalities) (For example, Isotretinoin)

COVID-19 has seen an acute spike in recent weeks. In relation to breastfeeding and COVID-19, Eugenne explained that, based on current research by the American Society of Breastfeeding Physicians on women infected with COVID-19, the virus had not been detected in breast milk.

Breast milk naturally comes with nutrition that can protect against diseases and potentially allow infants to acquire antibodies.

Eugenne also reiterates that breastfeeding mothers should not skip their medication as it presents a greater risk to the health of the mother and the fetus.

“Breastfeeding mothers are advised to seek alternative medication from a doctor or pharmacist who can weigh the pros and cons of the medication against any dangers to their infants,” she commented.

To further enlighten young parents, Alpro will host online webinars on the motherhood journey for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers on the 6th and 20th August 2022. Registration is currently open and will end on Aug 5, 2022. To reserve your seats, you can head to https://bit.ly/MamaB-Webinar-Register. Seats are highly limited.

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