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Poster 613 Pressure to Breastfeed: More Harm Than Good? A Case of a Popular Supplement Promoted to Enhance Milk Supply Resulting in Elevated Liver Associated Tests
Author Insight from Anita Kumar, MD, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
What’s new here and important for clinicians?
When patients present with elevated liver tests, it is always important to inquire about herbals or supplements, as many patients do not list these as part of their medication history. These can have adverse effects on patients’ health, and it is important to identify them early and stop before liver toxicity occurs. Mother’s Milk Tea is a popular tea which contains fennel, anise, coriander, fenugreek and blessed thistle. It is commonly recommended to new mothers to increase milk supply but recently caused acute elevation of liver tests in a patient which resolved with discontinuation of the tea.
Galactogogues are increasingly available in the United States to increase post-partum breast milk production. However, there is limited efficacy and safety data on available galactogogues. Studies are needed to evaluate the potential adverse effects of galactogogues to ensure health of mother and infant.
What do patients need to know?
Patients, especially lactating women, should be aware that herbals and supplements for increasing milk supply can do more harm than good and cause elevation in liver tests. There is increasing pressure on mothers to breastfeed, and many women turn to over-the-counter supplements to increase milk supply. Although Mother’s Milk Tea is a popular supplement sold widely, including in grocery stores such as Whole Foods, it is not without side effects and should be used with caution. Patients should disclose galactogogues use to their health care providers to optimize clinical monitoring.
Anita Kumar, MD, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Marie L. Borum, MD, EdD, MPH, FACG, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
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