UKDILAS is committed to providing evidence based information on the use of drugs during the breastfeeding period to all UK healthcare professionals. The service is provided via the UK Medicines Information Network by the Trent and West Midlands Regional Medicines Information Centres. The Centres are staffed by highly trained and experienced pharmacists.
Update during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
UKDILAS is continuing to operate the service as normal throughout the pandemic. Opening hours are not affected—see below.
It is recommended that breastfeeding continue to be supported if a mother becomes infected with COVID-19. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any unknown risk of viral transmission via breast milk.
Mothers may also be on medicines to manage their symptoms whilst infected with COVID-19 and it is important to consider the safety of these medicines during breastfeeding. Information is available on this website to inform those decisions (see Information Sources below), and UKDILAS can be contacted directly for further support.
The Service provides evidence based information for every medicine available in the UK and has risk assessed this in terms of safety during breastfeeding. This information is available on this SPS website by searching for the relevant drug name and clicking on the ‘Lactation Safety Information’ button (see below for a User Guide). Definitions used to risk assess the medicines can be accessed here.
In addition a number of evidence summaries (Q & As) are also available; the full list can be accessed here.
Guidance regarding the general principles of medicine use during breastfeeding can be accessed here.
An enquiry answering service is also provided to all UK healthcare professionals, to advise on an individual’s situation as to the suitability of breastfeeding whilst taking medicines. This can include complex patients, such as mothers on multiple medicines, or infants who are unwell.
The types of enquiry answered include:
- Risk assessment for breastfed infants exposed to maternal medication via breast milk, including preterm and health compromised infants.
- Excretion of drugs, diagnostic agents and chemicals into breast milk.
- Effects of medicines on milk production, including the enhancement and suppression of lactation.
- Selection of the most appropriate medication in lactation for specific disease states.
- Management of breastfeeding-related conditions, e.g. pain, nipple/breast infections, engorgement etc.
A leaflet describing the service is available for downloading (see below).
Contact the Service:
UKDILAS enquiry answering service is available from 09:00 – 17.00, Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays
0116 258 6491 (Trent Medicines Information Centre)
0121 424 7298 (West Midlands Medicines Information Centre)
Information required when making an enquiry
- Patient specific or general enquiry
- Age of infant (gestational age if premature)
- Status of infant – healthy/morbidity. Any additional risk factors e.g impaired renal/liver function, respiratory depression
- Maternal and infant drug(s) including route of administration, dose, frequency and duration of therapy (include OTC and dietary supplements, herbal preparations etc)
- Has mother already taken the drug(s)
- Have any other alternatives been tried or considered?
- Details of person raising the enquiry – patient, doctor, health visitor.