Metoclopramide effect on breastfeeding the preterm infant: a randomized trial

Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Feb;105(2):383-9. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000151113.33698.a8.


Objective: To investigate the effect of metoclopramide on breast milk volume and duration of breastfeeding in women delivering preterm.

Methods: Women who planned to breastfeed and delivered between 23 and 34 weeks of gestation were eligible to participate in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Women were randomized to receive 10 mg of metoclopramide or placebo 3 times a day for 10 days, starting within 96 hours of birth. Breastfeeding education was standardized for all women. Mothers recorded the volume of breast milk expressed at each pumping for 17 days. Duration of breastfeeding was measured by monthly follow-up phone calls to each subject.

Results: Sixty-nine women were enrolled and 57 (82%) women completed the study: 28 in the metoclopramide group and 29 in the placebo group. The 2 groups were similar in age, education, ethnicity, gestational age, and marital status. There was no significant difference between breast milk volumes in the metoclopramide and placebo groups at each of the 17 days of the study (P = .26 to .98; test for mean metoclopramide effect P = .80). There was no significant difference between groups in duration of breastfeeding, with a median of 8.8 weeks, an interquartile range of 3.4 to 12.0 weeks for the metoclopramide group and a median of 8.6 weeks, and an interquartile range of 5.6 to 16.9 weeks for the placebo group (P = .09).

Conclusion: Metoclopramide did not improve breast milk volume or duration of breastfeeding in this population of women. Regardless of therapy received, breastfeeding duration in this study of preterm mothers was poor.

Level of evidence: I.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lactation / drug effects*
  • Metoclopramide / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnancy
  • Probability
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Metoclopramide