Dr. Thomas Hale, who writes the indispensable Medications and Mothers Milk, has teamed up with the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health to create an Infant Risk Center based at Texas Tech University.
Currently there are two references for checking the safety of medication use during breastfeeding, and neither work that well. Medications and Mothers Milk is the gold standard for information on this, but many doctors offices and pharmacists don't have it, and it's too expensive for most moms to purchase. It's also updated every two years, so it can't be thoroughly up to date. Dr. Hale also runs a discussion board for professionals, but moms can't ask questions directly. The other resource is the website Lactmed, run by the National Institutes of Health, but I've found it to be less comprehensive, and it doesn't have ranking system for ease of understanding relative risk (Hale uses a scale of L1 to L5).
That's why I'm very excited about this new resource, which will make a lot of information available online to mothers and health professionals alike. Most exciting is that the center "will accept phone questions from women, physicians, and other health care providers about the use of specific drugs in pregnant or breastfeeding women." This will be incredibly helpful.
The Center will also:
- Provide the largest source of data on the use of medications in breastfeeding mothers in the world
- Provide a website and online databases to be used by every major university in the USA
- Engage on web forum with more than 13,000 registered health care professionals from around the world
- Disseminate information concerning the use of medications and other substances in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
- Produce a large clinical case management system that will ultimately provide evidence on the outcome of exposure to drugs and what women and their health care professionals should expect