06/18/07 #5 - Hydrocodone for headaches & Migraines while breastfeeding?

Ask the Clinician Health Pro
  • Full Question:
    I take hydrocodone for stress/migraine headaches. I am currently breastfeeding my 6 week old son. My doctor told me to go ahead and breastfeed, and then take one or two tablets depending on how bad the pain is. I am wondering how long the medicine stays in my system? I don’t want my baby to get any of it but I know that whatever I eat or drink goes through my breast milk. They reassure me that it is safe to take these but does my baby also get it?  Courtney.



    Dear Courtney;

    You didn't mention how often your headaches come; assuming they are only once a week or so hydrocodone with acetaminophen might be all right since they both have short half lives, which means that they leave the body pretty quickly.  Therefore, if you just breast-fed (at least four to six hours after the last dose), that would mean there was very little medication left in your milk. The same would be true for migraine specific medications like triptans, especially Imitrex. I have done this successfully with a number of breast-feeding Migraineurs. The long and the short of it is, there will be some medication left in breast milk, even with short acting medications.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert. If you have a question for this section of our site, please click HERE. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. No questions will be answered privately.


    Please note: We cannot handle emergencies or diagnose via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis.


    We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.

Published On: June 18, 2007