The Safety of St. John’s Wort (<i>Hypericum perforatum</i>) During Breastfeeding
J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(8):966-968
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: We examined the safety of St.
John's wort to nursing mothers and their infants.
Method: A prospective, observational, cohort
study was conducted. Thirty-three breastfeeding women receiving
St. John's wort (Group 1) who contacted our teratogen/toxicant
counseling service regarding the safety of St. John's wort during
breastfeeding were followed up between May 1999 and April 2001.
These women were compared with 101 disease-matched (Group 2) and
33 age- and parity-matched nondisease controls (Group 3).
Information collected included maternal and neonatal
demographics, breastfeeding duration, use of St. John's wort,
maternal and infant adverse events, infant weight over the first
year of life, and whether or not the mother experienced a
decrease in lactation.
Results: There were no statistically significant
differences found in maternal or infant demographics or maternal
adverse events. Whereas only 1 infant each in Groups 2 and 3 was
reported to be colicky, there were 2 cases of "colic,"
2 of "drowsiness," and 1 of "lethargy" in
Group 1 (p < .01; Group 1 vs. Group 2, p < .01; Group 1 vs.
Group 3, p = .20). Although 3 of these women in Group 1 consulted
their doctor, specific medical treatment was not required. No
significant difference was observed in the frequency of maternal
report of decreased milk production among the groups, nor was a
difference found in infant weight over the first year of life.
Conclusion: These results provide a framework
for the management of breastfeeding women receiving St. John's