Last update Dec. 20, 2023



Safe substance and/or breastfeeding is the best option.

Mannitol is an alcohol of the monosaccharide sugar mannose found naturally in fruits and vegetables. It is used as an osmotic diuretic to reduce intracranial and intraocular pressure, measure glomerular filtration rate, detect asthma and control pulmonary symptoms associated with cystic fibrosis. Intravenous administration. It is also used orally as an osmotic laxative due to its lack of intestinal absorption and as a food sweetener (E421). 

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

Its low oral bioavailability makes it difficult to pass into maternal plasma and, therefore, into breast milk, as well as into the infant's plasma from ingested breast milk, except in premature infants and the immediate neonatal period in which there may be greater intestinal permeability.

It is a metabolically inert product in humans that is eliminated unchanged in the urine before any metabolism can take place.

It is believed that it does not readily enter the cellular compartment, so it would not enter lactocytes and will not pass into milk except during the initial period of lactogenesis through the spaces between lactocytes. (Hale).

Expert authors consider it probably compatible with lactation. (Hale, Briggs 2015)

Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs: compatible with Breastfeeding. (WHO 2002)


We do not have alternatives for Mannitol since it is relatively safe.

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

Mannitol is also known as

Mannitol in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Mannitol in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 7 - 17 %
Molecular weight 182 daltons
VD 0.49 l/Kg
pKa 12.59 -
1.2 ± 0.5 hours


  1. Hale TW. Medications & Mothers' Milk. 1991- . Springer Publishing Company. Available from Consulted on April 10, 2024 Full text (link to original source)
  2. Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Towers CV, Forinash AB. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk. Wolters Kluwer Health. Tenth edition (acces on line) 2015
  3. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Cloyd JC, Snyder BD, Cleeremans B, Bundlie SR, Blomquist CH, Lakatua DJ. Mannitol pharmacokinetics and serum osmolality in dogs and humans. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1986 Feb;236(2):301-6. Erratum in: J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1986 Dec;239(3):959. Abstract

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