Galactogogues: medications that induce lactation

J Hum Lact. 2002 Aug;18(3):274-9. doi: 10.1177/089033440201800311.


Galactogogues are medications that aid in initiating and maintaining adequate milk production. Most exert their pharmacologic effects through interactions with dopamine receptors, resulting in increased prolactin levels and thereby augmenting milk supply. Metoclopramide remains the galactogogue of choice due to its documented record of efficacy and safety in women and infants. Domperidone crosses the blood brain barrier and into the breast milk to a lesser extent than metoclopramide, decreasing the risk of toxicity to both mother and infant possibly making it an attractive alternative. Traditional antipsychotics, sulpiride and chlorpromazine, have been evaluated, but adverse events limit their use. Human growth hormone, thyrotrophin-releasing hormone, and oxytocin have also been studied. Finally, a natural product, fenugreek, has been purported to be effective in anecdotal reports. Use of this agent may be warranted after considering risks versus benefits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Breast Feeding
  • Domperidone / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation / drug effects*
  • Metoclopramide / pharmacology*
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety
  • Sulpiride / adverse effects
  • Sulpiride / pharmacology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Domperidone
  • Sulpiride
  • Prolactin
  • Metoclopramide