Is darvaset safe to breastfeed?

Medications are transferred into breast milk to some degree by passive diffusion across biological membranes. Drugs with low protein binding and high lipid solubility are absorbed more readily.

Darvest, also known as propoxyphene, is a combination of a mild narcotic pain reliever (propoxyphene) and a non-narcotic pain reliever (acetaminophen). As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, Darvocet has been withdrawn from the market due to safety concerns.

Most analgesics such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, and codeine are considered compatible with breastfeeding. Morphine is also generally considered safe although sedation has been reported in some infants.



Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is safe to take while breastfeeding. However, be sure to take the lowest dose possible for your pain. It is also important to avoid cough and cold medicines that contain acetaminophen. These can lower your milk supply and make your baby irritable.

Many common medications are safe to take while breastfeeding. Allergy and hay fever medicines, such as antihistamines that do not make you sleepy, are safe, as well as most asthma medicines. Antibiotics such as penicillins, cephalosporins, and erythromycin (E-Mycin, Erythrocin) are all considered safe. Tetracyclines and metronidazole, which treat infections such as yeast infections, are safe to use short term, although the levels of these drugs may be high in breast milk.

Some drugs that are not safe to take while pregnant, such as codeine and tramadol, are also not recommended for breastfeeding women. These can affect your baby’s lungs and nervous system. If you need to take a medication that is not safe for breastfeeding, ask your health care provider about pumping and storing your milk while taking the drug, or about using formula instead of your own breast milk.


Propoxyphene, available under the brand names Darvocet and Darvon, is a pain reliever mixed with acetaminophen. It was the most frequently prescribed drug in the United States before being withdrawn from the marketplace because of serious side effects and overdoses. Symptoms of overdose include nausea, vomiting, sweating and trouble sleeping. Breastfeeding women taking propoxyphene should be weaned off the medication as soon as possible because it passes into the infant’s milk.

The FDA recommends that doctors use other medications to manage pain before a woman with a history of addiction begins breastfeeding. Propoxyphene is a Schedule IV drug under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The DEA classifies drugs and other substances into five categories and schedules based on their medical use and potential for abuse. Drugs in Schedule IV are considered less likely to be abused than those in Schedule III.


A small amount of alcohol passes into breast milk, but the amount and whether or not it affects the infant depends on how much the mother drinks and how quickly her body clears the alcohol. 

Because of the relatively small molecular size of alcohol, it moves through the body quickly and enters breast milk at a rate that closely parallels blood alcohol levels. Breast milk alcohol content usually peaks about 30 to 60 minutes after drinking and then slowly dissipates as the liver breaks it down.

Close-up shot of pediatrician giving a three month baby girl intramuscular injection in leg on white background

Pumping and discarding breastmilk, a practice known as “pump and dump,” is not necessary to avoid passing alcohol to the baby. However, the breasts may become uncomfortably full while waiting for the alcohol to clear the body. In addition, dumping the breastmilk does not reduce the alcohol levels in the new milk that is produced.

Herbal preparations

Herbal medicines are a popular alternative to prescription medications. They may contain ingredients that are dangerous to breastfeeding mothers or infants. The use of herbs in pregnancy and lactation is not well understood and requires expert individual assessment.

A common concern is poor breast milk production (galactogues). Many herbal resources recommend herbs to increase milk supply, such as fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare), neem leaf or fruit (Nerium indicum), and fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum). Clinicians should also be aware that some herbs have a negative effect on the breast, such as those with sedative properties (e.g. sage and parsley) or those that are strong purgatives such as aloe, senna and rhubarb root. Others have pyrrolizidine alkaloids that accumulate in the liver and can cross into breast milk (e.g. comfrey and coltsfoot).

Other medications for darvaset safe to breastfeed

Many drugs used by breastfeeding mothers do transfer to breast milk, but most at low levels that pose no risk to healthy infants. Medications that often appear in high concentrations in breastmilk include antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and cetirizine (Zyrtec); decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and phenylethylamine (Sudafed, Claritin-D, Zyrtec-D, Allegra-D); pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin); and anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine (Tegretol).

Detailed information on drug effects in breastfed infants is very limited. If you are taking a medication that has not been studied in breastfeeding, talk to your doctor and a lactation consultant before nursing. Occasionally, it may be possible to express and discard milk before the medication has cleared your body, but this must be done carefully to ensure your milk supply remains stable.

Be careful with herbal and dietary supplements as they may contain harmful ingredients such as ephedra. Always check with your doctor before starting a new herb, supplement or vitamin.


Studies indicate that occasional moderate drinking is not harmful to a breastfeeding infant. However, one study found that an infant who nursed after a mother had consumed alcohol was more likely to be fussy and have trouble sleeping.Women who use herbal preparations should discuss them with their health care provider before breastfeeding. Women should wait to take them right before breastfeeding and after breastfeeding to minimize the amount of drug or herb in their breastmilk. This will ensure that their blood concentrations are low enough to be safe for the baby.

Darvocet also known as propoxyphene?

Darvocet (also known as propoxyphene) is a medication that contains a combination of propoxyphene and acetaminophen. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, propoxyphene was removed from the market in many countries, including the United States, due to safety concerns. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of propoxyphene-containing medications in 2010 because of concerns about the risk of serious heart rhythm abnormalities.

Describe  medication containing propoxyphene?

If you have Darvocet or a medication containing propoxyphene and you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a lactation consultant. They can provide you with the most up-to-date information on the safety of the medication and help you make an informed decision about breastfeeding while taking this medication.

How we safe breastfeeding mothers and their infants?

In general, it’s important to be cautious when taking any medication while breastfeeding, as some medications can pass into breast milk and potentially affect your baby. Always consult with a healthcare provider to assess the risks and benefits and to explore alternative pain management options that may be safer for breastfeeding mothers and their infants.

How  the status of medications can change over time?

Since the status of medications can change over time, I recommend checking with a healthcare professional or referring to a trusted medical source for the most current and accurate information regarding the safety of Darvocet or any other medication while breastfeeding.

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