Infant Exposure to Antituberculosis Drugs via Breast Milk and Assessment of Potential Adverse Effects in Breastfed Infants: Critical Review of Data

Infants of mothers treated for tuberculosis might be exposed to drugs via breast milk. The existing information on the exposure of breastfed infants lacks a critical review of the published data. We aimed to evaluate the quality of the existing data on antituberculosis (anti-TB) drug concentrations in the plasma and milk as a methodologically sound basis for the potential risk of breastfeeding under therapy. We performed a systematic search in PubMed for bedaquiline, clofazimine, cycloserine/terizidone, levofloxacin, linezolid, pretomanid/pa824, pyrazinamide, streptomycin, ethambutol, rifampicin and isoniazid, supplemented with update references found in LactMed ® . We calculated the external infant exposure (EID) for each drug and compared it with the recommended WHO dose for infants (relative external infant dose) and assessed their potential to elicit adverse effects in the breastfed infant. Breast milk concentration data were mainly not satisfactory to properly estimate the EID. Most of the studies suffer from limitations in the sample collection, quantity, timing and study design. Infant plasma concentrations are extremely scarce and very little data exist documenting the clinical outcome in exposed infants. Concerns for potential adverse effects in breastfed infants could be ruled out for bedaquiline, cycloserine/terizidone, linezolid and pyrazinamide. Adequate studies should be performed covering the scenario in treated mothers, breast milk and infants.


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