Concentrations of methadone in breast milk and plasma in the immediate perinatal period

Lauren M. Jansson, Robin E. Choo, Cheryl Harrow, Martha Velez, Jennifer R. Schroeder, Ross Lowe, Marilyn A. Huestis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


This study evaluates concentrations of methadone in breast milk and plasma among a sample of methadone-maintained women in the immediate perinatal period. Twelve methadone-maintained, lactating women provided blood and breast milk specimens 1, 2, 3, and 4 days after delivery. Specimens were collected at the time of trough (just before methadone dose) and peak (3 hours after dosing) maternal methadone levels. Paired specimens of foremilk (prefeed) and hindmilk (postfeed) were obtained at each sampling time. Although there was a significant increase in methadone concentration in breast milk over time for the peak postfeed sampling time, t (22) = 2.40, P = .0255, methadone concentrations in breast milk were small, ranging from 21 to 314 ng/mL, and were unrelated to maternal methadone dose. Results obtained from this study contribute to the recommendation of breastfeeding for methadone-maintained women regardless of methadone dose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-190
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Breast milk
  • Breastfeeding
  • Lactation
  • Methadone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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