Are Drugs That Boost Breast Milk Too Risky to Take?

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ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
Mar 2017
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Photo: Shutterstock

Even if you think baby isn’t nursing enough, you’re probably producing all the milk you need. Usually, it’s a matter of perfecting baby’s latch position or feeding more frequently. But some moms do need to turn to medications to help increase their supply. Now doctors are taking a closer look at one of those drugs,  domperidone.

While not widely available in the US, domperidone is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for breastfeeding moms. (But milk stimulation isn’t its intended use — that’s a side effect — it’s actually to curb nausea from other drugs.) It’s been proven to boost milk production, and hasn’t shown to be harmful to babies who drink it. But there are potential negative side effects for mom — like irregular heartbeat and sudden cardiac death.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Human Lactation, researchers found no downsides of domperidone in a small sampling of 85 infants and 60 mothers. And three daily doses of 10-20 mg moderately improved milk production. But when dosages went beyond 30 mg, domperidone increased the odds of a mother’s sudden cardiac death.

Is the potential side effects worth the risk? That’s a talk worth having with your doctor.

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