Background: Varying degrees of success have been reported with strategies to increase milk production when lactation is failing. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of domperidone in augmenting milk production in mothers of premature newborns.
Methods: Twenty patients were randomly assigned to receive either domperidone or placebo for 7 days. Milk volume was measured daily. Domperidone levels were measured in randomly selected milk and serum samples on day 5 of the study. Serum prolactin levels were measured before the start of the study, on day 5 and on day 10 (3 days after the last dose of the study medication).
Results: Data from 16 patients were available for analysis (7 in the domperidone group and 9 in the placebo group). When compared with baseline values, the mean increase in the volume of milk production from day 2 to 7 was 49.5 (standard deviation [SD] 29.4) mL in the domperidone group and 8.0 (SD 39.5) mL in the placebo group (p < 0.05); proportionally this represented an increase of 44.5% and 16.6% respectively. The serum prolactin levels were similar in the 2 groups at baseline; by day 5 they were significantly higher in the domperidone group than in the placebo group, returning to baseline levels in both groups 3 days after the last dose of the study medication. Very small amounts of domperidone were detected in the breast milk samples.
Interpretation: In the short term domperidone increases milk production in women with low milk supply and is detected at low levels in breast milk.