Medicine use and safety while breastfeeding: investigating the perspectives of community pharmacists in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • Consumers and health professionals rely on community pharmacists for accurate information about the safety of medicines. Many breastfeeding women require medications, yet we know little about the advice provided to them by pharmacists in Australia. The aim of this study therefore was to investigate the perspectives of community pharmacists in Australia on medication use and safety in breastfeeding using a postal survey of a national random sample of 1166 community pharmacies in 2011. One hundred and seventy-six pharmacists responded (51% female). Of the 52% of participants with children, many (70%) had a total breastfeeding duration (self or partner) of 27 weeks or more. The majority (92%) were confident about supplying or counselling on medication during breastfeeding. The most commonly used resources were drug company information, Australian Medicines Handbook and the Royal Women’s Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Medicine Guide. Most (80%) believed the available information to be adequate and 86% thought it accessible. Over one-third were unaware that ibuprofen and metronidazole are compatible with breastfeeding. Most (80%) were able to name at least one medicine that may decrease milk supply. We found that community pharmacists discuss medicine use in lactation and are confident of their ability to do so; however, their knowledge may be variable.


  • de Ponti, M
  • Stewart, K
  • Amir, LH
  • Hussainy, SY

publication date

  • 2015