Last update Sept. 28, 2023


Very High Risk

Very unsafe. Contraindicated. Use of an alternative or cessation of breastfeeding. Read the Comment.

Bexarotene is a retinoid X receptor agonist used for cutaneous manifestations of T-cell lymphoma in patients who have not responded well to prior systemic therapy. Oral administration as a single daily dose.

At the time of the last update, we found no published data on its excretion in breast milk.

Its high binding to plasma proteins makes its passage into breast milk unlikely.

It is known from pharmacokinetics that after 3 elimination half-lives (T½) 87.5% of the drug is eliminated from the body; after 4 T½ 94%, after 5 T½ 96.9%, after 6 T½ 98.4% and after 7 T½ 99%. After 7 T½ the plasma concentrations of drug in the body are negligible. In general, a period of at least five half-lives can be considered a safe waiting period to resume breastfeeding. (Anderson 2016)

Taking the published T½ of this drug (7 hours) as a reference, these 5 T½ would correspond to 35 hours. Due to significant adverse effects (FDA 2015, EMA 2006), it would be advisable to wait 7 T½ which would correspond to 2 days. In the meantime, express and discard breast milk regularly. Since administration is daily, these waiting times make it impossible in practice to continue breastfeeding.

See below the information of this related product:

  • Maternal Cancer ( Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.)


We do not have alternatives for Bexarotene.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Bexarotene in other languages or writings:


Bexarotene belongs to these groups or families:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Bexarotene in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Molecular weight 349 daltons
Protein Binding 99 %
Tmax 2 hours
7 hours


  1. Anderson PO. Cancer Chemotherapy. Breastfeed Med. 2016 May;11:164-5. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Grunewald S, Jank A. New systemic agents in dermatology with respect to fertility, pregnancy, and lactation. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2015 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  3. FDA. Bexarotene. Drug Summary. 2015 Full text (in our servers)
  4. EMA. Bexaroteno. Ficha técnica. 2006 Full text (in our servers)
  5. EMA. Bexarotene. Drug Summary. 2006 Full text (in our servers)

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