Breast-feeding during treatment with cyclosporine

Transplantation. 1998 Jan 27;65(2):253-5. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199801270-00019.


Background: Mothers treated with cyclosporine (CsA) have previously not been allowed to breast-feed due to the reported accumulation of the drug in breast milk. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the consequences of allowing breast-feeding.

Methods: Seven infants were breast-fed by mothers who had undergone kidney transplantation alone (n=5) or simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplants (n=2). In addition to CsA, all mothers received prednisolone at 5-7.5 mg/day and six mothers received azathioprine at 50-100 mg. CsA concentration was measured in the whole blood of mothers and babies and in breast milk. Serum creatinine was measured in babies 1 week after birth and after 4-12 months of breast-feeding.

Results: Blood CsA levels ranged from 55 to 130 ng/ml in mothers (12-hr trough), 50 to 227 ng/ml in breast milk (mean for each woman), and was below the detection limit of 30 ng/ml in all infants. Breast milk concentration ranged from 87 to 440 ng/ml in 16 samples obtained at various time points from one mother. Infants' serum creatinine ranged from 25 to 54 micromol/L at 1 week after birth and 23-52 micromol/L after breast-feeding. All babies thrived.

Conclusions: Breast-fed infants of mothers treated with CsA received less than 300 microg per day of CsA and absorbed undetectable amounts. There were no demonstrable nephrotoxic effects or other side effects. Thus, women with kidney transplants could be allowed to breast-feed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Cyclosporine / analysis
  • Cyclosporine / blood
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / analysis
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / blood
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Milk, Human / chemistry
  • Pancreas Transplantation
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Prednisolone
  • Creatinine
  • Azathioprine