Pharmacokinetics of Transfer of Azithromycin into the Breast Milk of African Mothers

S. Salman, Timothy Davis, M. Page-Sharp, B. Camara, C. Oluwalana, A. Bojang, U. D'Alessandro, A. Roca

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    27 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Azithromycin (AZI) is used for its antibiotic and antimalarial properties in pregnancy. Reported estimates of AZI breast milk transfer, based on concentrations in mostly single samples from small numbers of women, have suggested that infant intake is safe. To better characterize infant intake and the associated potential benefits and risks, AZI was measured by liquid chromatography- mass spectrometry in four breast milk samples taken over 28 days postpartum from each of 20 Gambian women given 2 g AZI during labor. A population pharmacokinetic model utilizing published parameters for AZI disposition in pregnancy, the present breast milk concentrations, and increasing/decreasing sigmoid maximum-effect (Emax) functions adequately described temporal changes in the milk/plasma ratio. The median estimated absolute and relative cumulative infant doses were 4.5 mg/kg of body weight (95% prediction interval, 0.6 to 7.0 mg/kg) and 15.7% (95% prediction interval, 2.0 to 27.8%) of the maternal dose, respectively; the latter exceeded the recommended 10% safety limit. Although some infants with bacterial infections may benefit from AZI in breast milk, there is a risk of hypertrophic pyloric stenosis with a worst-case number needed to harm of 60 based on the present and available epidemiologic data. (This study has been registered at under registration no. NCT01800942.).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1592-1599
    Number of pages8
    JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
    Issue number3
    Early online date28 Dec 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


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