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January 22, 1982

Iodine in Mother's Milk

JAMA. 1982;247(4):463. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320290013017

To the Editor.—  Vorherr and co-workers (1981;244:2628) have suggested that vaginal povidone-iodine be avoided in pregnant women owing to a possible adverse effect on fetal thyroid function. We have recently seen a breast-fed infant whose mother was using this medication, and we would like to stress that nursing mothers should also avoid these preparations.

Report of a Case.—  The patient is a breast-fed infant, aged 7 1/2 months. His mother had been using a povidone-iodine vaginal gel (Betadine) containing 50 mg of available iodine per 5-g dose, once daily for six days without douching. She stopped use of this preparation owing to anxiety about using any medication while breastfeeding. Two days later, she noted an odor of iodine on her infant and was seen the next day at the poison control center of Children's Hospital of Michigan. Iodine was measured in various body fluids (Table), and breast-feeding was interrupted