Journal of analytical toxicology

Retrospective diagnosis of an adverse drug reaction in a breastfed neonate: liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry quantification of dextropropoxyphene and norpropoxyphene in newborn and maternal hair.

PMID 19021937


Dextropropoxyphene (DP) and norpropoxyphene (NP) are commonly used in the treatment of postpartum pain. The drug is widely prescribed in Europe and Canada and has been recently approved for use in the U.S. Its safety during breastfeeding, however, has not been fully established. Very few reports on its effects on neonates have been published. We report here the case of a mother treated with DP (6 capsules a day for 10 days) while she was breastfeeding. On day 7, her baby was lethargic and had difficulties with breastfeeding, which led to early weaning. The correlation between side effects observed in the infant and DP was made retrospectively by measuring DP and NP hair concentrations in the mother-infant pair with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Breastfeeding mothers taking DP expose their infants to high doses of DP and NP. In agreement with previously published reports, these data indicate that acetaminophen and nonsteroidal antiinflammatories are preferable for analgesia during breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should be encouraged under most circumstances, and if the mother takes any treatment for pain, a commonly prescribed drug with pharmacologic data available must be used.

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D-Norpropoxyphene maleate salt, analytical standard
C21H27NO2 · C4H4O4