Botox and Breastfeeding

Can You Get Botox Injections If You're Breastfeeding?

Botox and Breastfeeding
Is it safe to get Botox injections if you're breastfeeding?. Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

What Is Botox?

Botox (Onabotulinumtoxin A) is a prescription medication made from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The botulinum toxins produced by this bacteria are called neurotoxins. They are the same toxins that cause the serious, sometimes fatal illness of botulism.

Neurotoxins are a type of poison that affect the nervous system. They can target the nerves and the nerve tissues in the body.

What Is Botox Used For?

Botox is used in many medical procedures.

It is most commonly used by dermatologists and plastic surgeons for cosmetic reasons. When it is injected into the face, Botox smooths out fine lines and improves the appearance of wrinkles. However, Botox is also used to treat cerebral palsy, chronic migraines, severe neck spasms, anal fissures, excessive sweating, strabismus (crossing of the eyes), and other medical conditions.

How Does Botox Work?

Botox is given by injection directly into the muscle. It works by blocking the activity of the nerves in the area that it's injected into, causing a paralysis of the muscle. The effects of Botox are temporary, and the injections will need to be repeated in a few months time.

Can You Get Botox Injections If You're Breastfeeding?

There is very little data available on the safety of Botox use during breastfeeding. But, here's what we do know:

  • There is only a small amount of purified botulinum toxin type A in each injection of Botox.

  • The medication goes directly into the muscle, and there is no evidence that the toxin will circulate throughout the body or pass into the breast milk.

  • It appears that the use of Botox injections during breastfeeding is unlikely to cause any harm to the baby.  

  • Even though the toxins are not likely to pass to the baby through the breast milk, it may be best to breastfeed before the Botox injection and then wait a few hours after receiving it before breastfeeding again. By waiting a few hours, it can further reduce the chances of passing any of medication to the baby.

    Warning: The Dangers Of Botulinum Toxin 

    Botulinum toxin is very dangerous and even deadly. To prevent serious illness and side effects, follow these guidelines:

    1. Botox injections should be prescribed by a doctor and given by a licensed medical professional. A doctor will be able to prescribe the correct dose of this dangerous medication, and a licensed medical professional will know how to inject the medication properly into the muscle.

    2. Do not use any type of botulinum toxin that isn't prescribed by your doctor. Vials of botulinum toxin bought over the internet, on the street, or from an unreliable source can contain unsafe levels of toxins. Fake Botox, contaminated medications, medications given in the wrong doses, and medications not injected correctly can, and have, caused disfigurement and death.

    The Side Effects Of Botox

    The side effects of Botox can include pain, swelling, and bruising at the site of the injection, dry mouth, headache, and fatigue.

    Botox can also cause more serious side effects.

    If the botulinum toxin spreads out beyond the site that's being treated, it can cause a life-threatening situation. Call the doctor immediately for any of the following:

    • difficulty swallowing
    • trouble talking
    • muscle weakness
    • difficulty breathing
    • droopy eyelids
    • blurred vision
    • signs of an allergic reaction including itching, rash, hives, and wheezing.

    Although side effects in the breastfed baby are not expected, monitor the child for signs of weakness or stomach problems.

    Sources:

    Briggs, Gerald G., Roger K. Freeman, and Sumner J. Yaffe. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012.

    Hale, Thomas W., and Rowe, Hilary E. Medications and Mothers' Milk: A Manual of Lactational Pharmacology Sixteenth Edition. Hale Publishing. 2014.

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