Serum sertraline and N-desmethylsertraline levels in breast-feeding mother-infant pairs

Am J Psychiatry. 1998 May;155(5):690-2. doi: 10.1176/ajp.155.5.690.


Objective: The authors' goal was to study the serum sertraline levels of breast-feeding mothers and their infants.

Method: They obtained serum levels of sertraline and N-desmethylsertraline in nine mother-infant pairs.

Results: Sertraline levels were very low (less than 2 ng/ml) in seven of the nine infants and low (3 ng/ml) in one. N-Desmethylsertraline levels were also low (6 ng/ml or less) in seven of the nine infants. One infant had a high level of N-desmethylsertraline, and one infant had unusual serum sertraline and N-desmethylsertraline values (half of its mother's levels). All infants were thriving.

Conclusions: Most breast-feeding infants whose mothers were taking sertraline had very low serum levels of both sertraline and N-desmethylsertraline, consistent with published reports. The authors discuss in detail the one infant with unusually high levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 1-Naphthylamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • 1-Naphthylamine / metabolism
  • 1-Naphthylamine / therapeutic use
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Depressive Disorder / blood*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn / blood*
  • Lactation / blood*
  • Male
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / blood*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Sertraline


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • 1-Naphthylamine
  • desmethylsertraline
  • Sertraline