Maternal, fetal, neonatal and breastmilk flecainide concentration during maternal therapy and lactation: a case report

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Background: Mothers requiring the antiarrhythmic agent flecainide are often advised not to breastfeed, because of the lack of data concercing neonatal effects and flecainide plasma concentrations following maternal exposure as well as via lactation. This is the first report on combined maternal, fetal, neonatal and breastmilk flecainide concentrations in a breastfed infant of a mother requiring flecainide treatment.

Case presentation: A 35-year old Gravida 2 Para 1, known with ventricular arrhythmia, was referred to our tertiary center at 35 + 4 weeks of gestation. Because of an increase of ventricular ectopy, oral metoprolol 11.9 milligrams once daily was switched to oral flecainide 87.3 milligrams twice daily. Weekly collected maternal flecainide plasma trough concentrations fell within the therapeutic range of 0.2 to 1.0 mg/L and no further clinically significant arrhythmias occurred during the study period. A healthy son was born at 39 weeks of gestation and had a normal electrocardiogram. The fetal to maternal flecainide ratio was 0.72 and at three different timepoints, the flecainide concentration was higher in breastmilk than in maternal plasma. The relative infant dose received via breastmilk compared to maternal dose was 5.6%. Neonatal plasma concentrations were not detectable, despite the flecainide passage into breastmilk. All electrocardiograms to assess the neonatal antiarrhytmic effect were normal.

Conclusions: Our results assume that flecainide can be prescribed safely to lactating mothers. Quantification of drug concentrations in neonatal blood in addition to measurements in maternal and fetal blood, and breastmilk, are helpful to evaluate the effects and safety of maternal medication use during pregnancy and lactation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Pages (from-to)21
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Breastfeeding Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

Funding information:
No funding.


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