Last update June 10, 2018
Copper 64 (Cu-64) is an unstable isotope of copper which emits positrons.
It is used in medicine for diagnostic purposes (positron emission tomography, PET) and radiation therapy for cancer treatment (Pfeifer 2012, Holland 2009).
Although copper has an average biological life of 18 to 24 days, the radioactive decay half-life of the Cu-64 is 12.7 hours.
Other copper isotopes are also used for diagnostic purposes: Cu-60, Cu-61 and Cu-62 with a radioactive decay half-life of 24 minutes, 3.3 hours and 10 minutes respectively, and in radiotherapy: Cu-67 with a radioactive decay half-life of 62 hours (Follacchio 2017).
Since the last update date we have not found published data on its excretion in breastmilk.
Timings for halting breastfeeding or avoiding close contact are calculated so that the infant is not exposed to more than 1 millisievert (1 mSv = 0.1 rem) of radiation (ICRP 2008, Howe 2008, Stabin 2000). An adult receives between 5 and 10 mSv per year from environmental radiation.
After a period of 10 half-lives of the isotope, all traces of radioactivity will have disappeared in the body.
If you want to continue breastfeeding it is advisable to express and conserve breastmilk in a freezer during the days or weeks prior to administering Cu-64. After the test, express milk for 10 half-lives (127 hours, 5 days), feeding in the meantime using the milk previously stored. Milk expressed after the test can be stored in a separate drawer in the freezer and re-used once 10 half-lives (5 days) have passed.
Try using the radionuclide which has the shortest life.
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.
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e-lactancia is a resource recommended by Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine - 2006 of United States of America
Would you like to recommend the use of e-lactancia? Write to us at corporate mail of APILAM