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Serotonergic Drugs May Delay Lactation

Study suggests need for additional support of new mothers who are taking antidepressants

THURSDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In new mothers, the use of medications affecting the balance of serotonin may have an adverse effect on lactation, according to a study published online Dec. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Aaron M. Marshall, Ph.D., of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues interviewed 431 mothers of first live-born infants, and conducted a variety of cell and animal studies.

Compared to women not taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, the researchers found that women receiving such medications were more likely to experience delayed secretory activation. In their studies of mammary epithelial cells, they found that inhibiting serotonin reuptake altered barrier function, an effect which was magnified by co-administration of a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. In their animal studies, they found that direct delivery of fluoxetine by slow-release pellets resulted in localized involution.

"Medications that perturb serotonin balance dysregulate lactation, and the effects are consistent with those predicted by the physiological effects of intramammary serotonin bioactivity," the authors conclude. "Mothers taking serotonergic drugs may need additional support to achieve their breast-feeding goals."

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