Each year, 4.3 million mothers will give birth to an infant in the U.S. and 76% go on to breastfeed their infant. Essentially all of them will take at least one medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our center recieves up to 75 calls per day from everywhere in the world. Our purpose is to help moms have safe pregnancies, and safe breastfeeding while using medications.
WHO WE ARE.
The InfantRisk Center (IRC) is a world-wide call center presently in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, in Amarillo.
The InfantRisk Center is used by physicians, nurses, lactation consultants, and mothers in every part of the world. Virtually all calls are about multiple drugs, averaging 3-4 individual drugs. We do our best to help moms, lactation consultants, and doctors evaluate the risk to the infant from exposure to multiple drugs, and keep the mom breastfeeding.
Ask any of our staff, and they will tell you that this call center is a labor of love. We work every day to answer difficult and often unknown problems for our callers. But we are almost always able to find a way to help these desperate moms find a needed medication while pregnant or breastfeeding.
WHAT ARE OUR GOALS?
Years ago we realized that no one was doing drug research in breastfeeding mothers, and that it was ultimately up to us to do this research. Since 2013, we’ve published more than 25 drug studies, and we have a dozen more under development right now. But there is so much more that we need to understand about human milk, and we are rapidly entering this field with projects involving human oncogenes in milk, and human endocannabinoids in human milk. With funding, we could open an entirely new endeavor to understand the endocrinology of human milk, and how our endocrine system controls milk production.
Some of our newest goals are:
- Develop new research on the transmission of newly released drugs into human milk.
- Develop new research on the transmission of Cannabis products into human milk.
- Develop new research on the endocannabinoids found in human milk. What are they doing there?
- Train new physicians and pharmacists in Breastfeeding Medicine.
- Train medical, pharmacy and nursing students in Breastfeeding Medicine.
- Develop a new set of training video modules for healthcare professionals.
- Increase the number of calls we can support from moms and healthcare providers.
- Help more moms to continue breastfeeding safely.
Our Research Laboratories
The InfantRisk Center operates a highly sophisticated set of Clinical Pharmacology laboratories with the most up-to-date technologies including Mass spectrometry and numerous new biological and Elisa tests. We have dozens of projects underway which include all aspects of breastfeeding pharmacology, molecular medicine and genetics. We are consistently publishing data on new drugs each year and studying many aspects of lactation, including a new study to detect cancer antigens present in human milk. We have a new study to try and determine why some women have high prolactin levels, but can't make milk. Is it an unusual prolactin molecule? Maybe.
We have recently started a whole series of studies on the presence of endogenous CB1 receptor stimulants (the endocannabinoids), with some startling results we will present in the new few months.
We are helping pharmaceutical firms to breastfeeding research on their new drugs, so we can get the data on such drugs and council moms about their safety. Finally, the pharmaceutical industry is interested in studying the transmission of their drugs into human milk.
Drugs we are interested in studying:
- Apixaban (Eliquis)
- Apremilast (Otezla)
- Brexpiprazole (Rexulti)
- Brivaracetam (Briviact)
- Cariprazine (Vraylar)
- Clomiphene (Clomid)
- Lacosamide (Vimpat)
- Linaclotide (Linzess)
- Lisinopril (Carace, Lisoril, Prinil, Zestril)
- Lorcaserin (BelviQ)
- Methsuximide (Celontin)
- Plecanatide (Trulance)
- Promethazine (Phenergan)
- Saxagliptin (Onglyza)
- Sitagliptin (Januvia)
- Sodium Polystyrene (Kayexalate)
- Varneclin (Chantix)
- Zoledronic Acid (Reclast)
Meet the InfantRisk Center staff!
Thomas Hale, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Professor of Pediatrics at Texas Tech University School of Medicine is the Director of the InfantRisk Center and Associate Dean of Research.
Dr. Hale is the author of the best-selling book Medications and Mothers Milk and numerous papers and book chapters in the field of lactational pharmacology. He is considered one of the foremost leading experts in the field of perinatal pharmacology and the use of medications in breastfeeding mothers.
Teresa E. Baker, MD
Dr. Baker graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern and completed her residency training at Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, TX. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Dr. Baker has a combined private and academic OB/GYN practice with the University Physicians at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Amarillo. She is interested in teen pregnancy, postpartum depression, and promoting preventive medicine for the women of the Texas Panhandle, as well as Resident and Student education and serves as the Residency Director.
Sandra Lovato, RN
Sandra is a Registered Nurse and telephone advisor for the InfantRisk Center. She received her ADN from the Amarillo College of School of Nursing in May of 2008. She began working at the InfantRisk Center in November of 2013 as a Senior Adviser for Dr. Hale. Since she began working under Dr. Hale, she has learned a lot about the effects of medications and their passage into breastmilk. She is glad to be a part of such a valuable and important resource for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and seeks to help mothers have a long, healthy breastfeeding relationship with their child.
Alicia Gill, RN
Alicia is a Registered Nurse and telephone advisor for the Infant Risk Center. She graduated the Vocational Nursing Program from Clarendon College in 2007. Then she received her ADN from Amarillo College in 2010. She began working at the Infant Risk Center in June of 2019 as a Senior Advisor for Dr. Hale. She has learned a lot about the effects of medications and their passage into breastmilk. She is excited to be a part of an important and valuable research center for pregnant and breast feeding moms.