Breast Milk Stimulant Poses High Risks for Nursing Mothers

Domperidone is an anti-emetic drug that is commonly used to treat nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness or medications that induce nausea. Oftentimes, specialists suggest its off-label use in order to stimulate breast milk production in new mothers. While it has been proven effective in small doses such as 10 to 20 mg daily, there are some institutions that recommend it in doses as high as 120 to 160 mg daily. The drug poses no risk to the baby’s health, but the same cannot be said for the mother. Possible maternal side effects of domperidone include an irregular heartbeat and sudden cardiac death.

The Effects of Domperidone

Researchers recently analyzed a number of studies in order to determine just how hazardous domperidone is to the health of nursing mothers. Included in this analysis were large studies done on its prescribed use in the treatment of nausea, as well as limited studies done on maternal and infant exposure. It was concluded that breast milk production increased moderately without any adverse effects at a dosage of 10 to 20 mg. However, the risk for sudden cardiac death for mothers increased when treated with more than 30 mg daily. This is especially worrisome for women who are highly susceptible to certain cardiovascular diseases.

Other Safer Options

Fortunately, if you are a mother who’s concerned about the possible side effects of domperidone, there are other options that could also have a positive impact on your breast milk production. Experts suggest that improving breast feeding practices is safer and possibly more effective than off label domperidone use. Using a breast pump, increasing the frequency of feedings, breast massage, and improving the diet to include foods such as almonds, oatmeal, and fennel, are all safer alternatives.