No clinical studies have been conducted on Novolin R (regular insulin) and breastfeeding, so it is not known whether the drug passes through breast milk. However, it would likely be destroyed in the digestive tract (of the infant) even if it did pass through breast milk, because it is digested and inactivated when taken by mouth. Before using Novolin R, breastfeeding women should talk to their healthcare providers.
Novolin R and Breastfeeding: An Overview
It is not clear if Novolin® R (regular insulin) passes through breast milk; however, it is not expected to cause problems when used while breastfeeding. Most healthcare providers consider Novolin R safe to take while breastfeeding, considerably safer than most oral diabetes medications and possibly safer than some of the newer insulins (at least as far as breastfeeding is concerned). You should talk with your healthcare provider before taking Novolin R if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding.
Can I Take Novolin R While Breastfeeding?
First of all, it should be noted that Novolin R is identical to the insulin produced naturally in the human body. As long as blood sugar levels are kept under control (not too high and not too low), there is no reason to expect that Novolin R would cause problems for a breastfeeding woman or her infant.
There is conflicting information available about whether or not insulin passes through breast milk. However, even if it does pass through breast milk, it would likely be destroyed in the digestive tract of the infant. Insulin (including Novolin R) is a protein that is digested and inactivated when taken by mouth. This is why insulin cannot be taken by mouth.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Novolin R and Breastfeeding
You should talk with your healthcare provider about Novolin R and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision about Novolin R and breastfeeding that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Novolin R [package insert]. Princeton, NJ: Novo Nordisk, Inc.;2013 March.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed July 10, 2008.
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