Passage of paracetamol into breast milk and its subsequent metabolism by the neonate

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1987 Jul;24(1):63-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.1987.tb03137.x.


1 Paracetamol was administered to nursing mothers. The drug passed rapidly into milk and the milk:plasma concentration ratio was approximately unity. 2 The estimated maximum dose to the neonate was 1.85% of the weight-adjusted maternal oral dose of paracetamol 1.0 g. Recovery of paracetamol was greater from the breast from which samples were taken frequently than from the breast which was sampled only once. 3 Paracetamol, its glucuronide, sulphate, cysteine and mercapturate conjugates were found in the urine of the neonates although only the parent drug was detected in breast milk. 4 The neonates excreted significantly greater proportions of unchanged paracetamol (P less than 0.01) and significantly lesser proportions of paracetamol sulphate (P less than 0.001) than did healthy volunteers aged 11-80 years who received a therapeutic dose of paracetamol. 5 The findings are compatible with a deficiency of sulphate conjugation by the neonate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biotransformation
  • Female
  • Glucuronates / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • Sulfates / metabolism


  • Glucuronates
  • Sulfates
  • Acetaminophen