Clinical significance of methohexital, meperidine, and diazepam in breast milk

J Clin Pharmacol. 1997 Mar;37(3):186-92. doi: 10.1002/j.1552-4604.1997.tb04780.x.


Concentrations in breast milk of medications used during general anesthesia were measured to determine whether interruption of breast-feeding was indicated. Breast milk and maternal blood samples were obtained from nine women undergoing tubal sterilization under general anesthesia. Concentrations of methohexital, meperidine, diazepam, and nordiazepam were determined for each sample by gas chromatography. Methohexital levels declined rapidly after the first hour and were undetectable at 24 hours. Meperidine was present in both milk and blood during the recovery period but not at 24 hours. Infant-exposure indices for methohexital were less than 1% and ranged from 1.2% to 3.5% for meperidine. The maximum doses of methohexital and meperidine to an infant, in a 100 mL feeding 1 hour after induction of anesthesia were estimated to be 0.04 mg and 0.06 mg, respectively. Diazepam and nordiazepam were not detectable in any sample of milk or blood. The maximum possible infant-exposure index for diazepam would be 3%. The amounts of methohexital, meperidine and diazepam excreted into breast milk do not warrant interruption of breast-feeding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, General*
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / isolation & purification*
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects*
  • Contraindications
  • Diazepam / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meperidine / isolation & purification*
  • Methohexital / isolation & purification*
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Sterilization, Tubal


  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Meperidine
  • Methohexital
  • Diazepam