Lung Cancer Home > Tarceva and Breastfeeding

No research has been done to determine whether Tarceva (erlotinib) passes through breast milk. Although it is not expected that large amounts of this medicine would pass through, all of the potential complications cannot yet be ruled out. For this reason, it is generally recommended that women avoid breastfeeding while using Tarceva.

Can Breastfeeding Women Take Tarceva?

Tarceva® (erlotinib) is a prescription medication used to treat lung cancer and, in combination with another medicine, to treat cancer of the pancreas. At this time, it is not known whether Tarceva passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, if you are currently breastfeeding a child, talk with your healthcare provider before taking this medication.

What Does the Research Say About Tarceva and Breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, no research has been done to see if Tarceva passes through breast milk. Therefore, it is unknown if the medication would be found in breast milk, or if it would harm a nursing infant.
Many medications are passed through breast milk. Based on the properties of Tarceva, it would be expected to pass through breast milk in some amount. However, the actual amount (if any) that would be passed to a nursing child is unknown.
Tarceva is associated with potentially serious side effects. Because of the potential for these effects in a nursing infant, it is generally recommended that women not breastfeed during Tarceva treatment.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should discuss breastfeeding and Tarceva with your healthcare provider. 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 that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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