Pain Home > Darvocet and Breastfeeding

Studies on Darvocet (propoxyphene/acetaminophen) and breastfeeding show that the medication passes through breast milk in humans. Although this drug is usually considered to be compatible with breastfeeding, there have been reports of problems in nursing infants due to Darvocet, such as drowsiness and decreased breathing. Since each woman's situation is different, however, you should talk to your healthcare provider about breastfeeding and Darvocet.

Is Taking Darvocet While Breastfeeding Safe?

Darvocet® (propoxyphene/acetaminophen) passes through breast milk in breastfeeding women. Some sources consider this medication to be compatible with breastfeeding, while others warn of potential problems. If you are breastfeeding or are thinking about breastfeeding, talk with your healthcare provider before taking Darvocet.
In November 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew all medications that contain propoxyphene from the market. It has been determined that the risks of propoxyphene outweigh the possible benefits. In particular, the FDA was concerned about the drug's ability to cause serious changes in the heart rhythm, even at normal doses. Pharmacies will no longer sell this medication, and people who take it should stop and ask their healthcare provider for a more suitable pain medication.

Potential Problems With Darvocet and Breastfeeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics classifies this drug as being usually compatible with breastfeeding. However, there have been reports of problems in breastfed infants due to Darvocet, such as:
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Limpness
  • Blue skin (indicating breathing problems).
While it is probably fine for most women to take Darvocet for pain after delivery, it may be best to switch to a non-narcotic pain reliever once the milk has "come in" (before the milk has come in, little of the drug will be passed to the infant).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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