Longitudinal trends in domperidone dispensing to mothers of very preterm infants and its association with breast milk feeding at infant discharge: a retrospective study

BMJ Paediatr Open. 2023 Nov;7(1):e002195. doi: 10.1136/bmjpo-2023-002195.


Objective: This study aims: (a) to evaluate patterns of domperidone dispensing to mothers of very preterm (<32 weeks gestation) infants born before and after 2014 when international recommendations were made to limit its use and (b) to examine characteristics associated with domperidone dispensing and impacts on breast milk feeding rates at infant hospital discharge.

Design: Retrospective audit using linked electronic medical records and hospital pharmacy records.

Setting: Tertiary-referral neonatal intensive care unit at the Women's and Children's Hospital in South Australia.

Patients: Mothers of preterm infants admitted to neonatal intensive care from January 2004 to December 2018.

Main outcome measures: Rate of domperidone dispensing compared pre-2014 and post-2014 recommendations using interrupted time series analyses, and breast milk feeding rates at infant discharge based on domperidone treatment status, adjusted for other factors known to influence breast milk production.

Results: Overall, domperidone was dispensed to 691 (41%) of 1688 mothers. Prior to 2014 recommendations, the proportion of women dispensed domperidone was stable. Following the recommendations, there was a significant reduction in trend (-2.55% per half year, 95% CI -4.57% to -0.53%;), reflecting less domperidone dispensing.Breast milk feeding rates at discharge remained consistently lower in infants of women dispensed domperidone than those who were not (adjusted OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.75).

Conclusion: Domperidone dispensing in mothers of hospitalised very preterm infants has declined over time following international regulatory warnings. Breast milk feeding rates remain lower in mothers prescribed domperidone, suggesting further research is needed to optimise lactation support for mothers of very preterm infants.

Keywords: Neonatology; Pharmacology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Domperidone* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lactation
  • Milk, Human*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Domperidone