Metoclopramide to augment lactation, does it work? A randomized trial

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2011 Nov;24(11):1317-20. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2010.549255. Epub 2011 Mar 17.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of metoclopramide on augmentation of milk production in mothers of premature newborns.

Methods: This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Women who delivered at ≤34 weeks of gestation, with no prior breastfeeding experience, singleton pregnancy, and no contraindications to using metoclopramide were eligible for entry. Twenty-five women were randomly assigned to receive 10 mg of metoclopramide or placebo three times daily for 8 days starting within 36 h of birth. Certified lactation nurses provided breastfeeding education. Breast milk expressed at each pumping session over the 8 days of treatment was recorded.

Results: Data from 18 patients were available for analysis. Milk production in both groups increased rapidly during the first 4 days and then more gradually to an average for the last 4 days of 633 ± 168 (9) ml/day [mean ± SEM (n)] for the placebo group and 459 ± 91 (10) ml/day for the metoclopramide group. Analysis with a repeated-measures ANOVA indicated a significant increase in milk production during the 8-day measurement period [within subjects p < 0.001]; however, there was no significant difference in milk production between the two groups [between subjects p = 0.427]. Side effects were similar between groups.

Conclusion: In mothers with preterm babies, metoclopramide treatment does not augment (sample size had 80% power for detection of 50% difference) the breast milk production. Maternal interest, education, and support are recognized as mainstay in accomplishing successful lactation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lactation / drug effects*
  • Metoclopramide / administration & dosage*
  • Metoclopramide / adverse effects
  • Placebos
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / physiopathology*


  • Placebos
  • Metoclopramide