Also known as Abramycin, Achromycin, Anhydrotetracycline, Deschlorobiomycin, Liquamycin, TCN, Tetracyclin, Tetracyclinum, Tetrazyklin, Tsiklomitsin, Tétracycline

A broad-spectrum naphthacene antibiotic produced semisynthetically from chlortetracycline, an antibiotic isolated from the bacterium Streptomyces aureofaciens. In bacteria, tetracycline binds to the 30S ribosomal subunit, interferes with the binding of aminoacyl-tRNA to the mRNA-ribosome complex, thereby inhibiting protein synthesis.

Originator: NCI Thesaurus | Source: The website of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov)

Can I take Tetracycline while breastfeeding?

A number of reviews have stated that tetracycline is contraindicated during breastfeeding because of possible staining of infants’ dental enamel or bone deposition of tetracyclines. However, a close examination of available literature indicates that there is not likely to be harm in short-term use of tetracycline during lactation because milk levels are low and absorption by the infant is inhibited by the calcium in breastmilk. Short-term use of tetracycline is acceptable in nursing mothers. As a theoretical precaution, avoid prolonged or repeat courses during nursing. Monitor the infant for rash and for possible effects on the gastrointestinal flora, such as diarrhea or candidiasis (thrush, diaper rash).

Drug levels

Maternal Levels. In a study using a microbiologic assay, milk tetracycline levels were in an unspecified number of nursing mothers at 9 am after various dosages of tetracycline during the previous days. Whether they had mastitis and the time postpartum were not stated. Milk levels increased to 2.5 mg/L after a daily dose of 1 gram orally for 3 days. Milk levels increased to 2 mg/L after a daily dose of 1.5 grams orally for 2 days. Milk levels increased to 2.5 mg/L after a daily dose of 2 grams orally for 3 days.[1]

Five women were given oral tetracycline 500 mg 4 times a day for 3 days. Milk levels ranged from 0.43 to 2.58 mg/L (times not specified).[2]

After a single dose of 150 mg of tetracycline orally in 2 women, milk levels of tetracycline averaged 0.7 mg at 2 and 6 hours after the dose and had an average peak of 0.8 mg/L 4 hours after the dose.[3]

Infant Levels. Five women were given oral tetracycline 500 mg 4 times a day for 3 days. Their infants were allowed to nurse and tetracycline was undetectable (<50 mcg/L) in the infants' serum.[2]

Effects in breastfed infants

Maternal Levels. In a study using a microbiologic assay, milk tetracycline levels were in an unspecified number of nursing mothers at 9 am after various dosages of tetracycline during the previous days. Whether they had mastitis and the time postpartum were not stated. Milk levels increased to 2.5 mg/L after a daily dose of 1 gram orally for 3 days. Milk levels increased to 2 mg/L after a daily dose of 1.5 grams orally for 2 days. Milk levels increased to 2.5 mg/L after a daily dose of 2 grams orally for 3 days.[1]

Five women were given oral tetracycline 500 mg 4 times a day for 3 days. Milk levels ranged from 0.43 to 2.58 mg/L (times not specified).[2]

After a single dose of 150 mg of tetracycline orally in 2 women, milk levels of tetracycline averaged 0.7 mg at 2 and 6 hours after the dose and had an average peak of 0.8 mg/L 4 hours after the dose.[3]

Infant Levels. Five women were given oral tetracycline 500 mg 4 times a day for 3 days. Their infants were allowed to nurse and tetracycline was undetectable (<50 mcg/L) in the infants' serum.[2]

Possible effects on lactation

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Alternate drugs to consider

Doxycycline

References

1. Gruner JM. [The excretion of terramycin and tetracycline in human milk]. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1955;15:354-60. PMID: 14380696

2. Posner AC, Prigot A, Konicoff NG. Further observations on the use of tetracycline hydrochloride in prophylaxis and treatment of obstetric infections. Antibiot Annu. 1955-1956;594-8. PMID: 13355291

3. Matsuda S. Transfer of antibiotics into maternal milk. Biol Res Pregnancy. 1984;5:57-60. PMID: 6743732

4. Prakash O, Mathur GP et al. Drug exposure in pregnant and lactating mothers in periurban areas. Indian Pediatr. 1990;27:1301-2. PMID: 2093678

Last Revision Date

20150310

Disclaimer:Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.

Source: LactMed – National Library of Medicine (NLM)

3D Model of the Tetracycline molecule

MolView – data visualization platform