According to the manufacturer of Embeda (morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride), women should avoid using this medication while breastfeeding. Research studies have shown that the morphine component of the drug does pass through breast milk and may cause problems in the infant, such as poor feeding or difficulty breathing. Before using Embeda, breastfeeding women should ask their healthcare providers about the potential risks.
Is Embeda Safe for Breastfeeding Women?
Embeda™ (morphine sulfate/naltrexone hydrochloride) passes through breast milk. If you are breastfeeding or are considering breastfeeding, talk with your healthcare provider before taking Embeda. The manufacturer of Embeda recommends against taking this medication while breastfeeding.
What Does the Research Say?
Morphine (the main active ingredient of Embeda) passes through breast milk in low amounts. As a narcotic, morphine could cause problems in a nursing infant, such as drowsiness, poor feeding (due to drowsiness or stomach upset), constipation, or even difficulty breathing. Despite these potential problems, morphine is often considered compatible with breastfeeding, especially in the immediate postpartum period (right after birth).
Even though morphine is often considered compatible with breastfeeding, Embeda is not appropriate for most breastfeeding mothers. Embeda is approved only for long-term, daily use to treat chronic pain. It should not be used to treat pain related to childbirth. Because Embeda provides a continuous release of morphine, it is likely that a breastfed infant would be exposed to a larger dose of morphine (compared to short-acting morphine products).
Also, if a woman takes Embeda (or any other morphine-containing medication) for a significant period of time while breastfeeding, the infant may experience withdrawal symptoms when the child is weaned (or when the mother stops taking Embeda).
The naltrexone component of Embeda is not as large of a concern for breastfeeding (compared to the morphine). When Embeda is used properly, the naltrexone is not released (or absorbed) to any significant extent. However, it is not known if naltrexone passes through breast milk (in the event that Embeda is crushed or dissolved).
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