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How Effective Is Metoclopramide for Lactation?

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  • Written By: A. Gamm
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Most doctors and lactation consultants recommend that mothers with low milk supply and mothers with adopted or surrogate infants use Metoclopramide for lactation. Several studies performed have demonstrated significant levels of increased milk supply and success in inducing lactation when this medication is used. While not every health professional believes that using Metoclopramide for lactation is actually effective, the general belief is that it is useful in increasing prolactin hormone levels within the body, which in turn encourages milk supply.

Using Metoclopramide for lactation helps release prolactin, which is an essential hormone for milk production. There is no set dosage to effectively use Metoclopramide for lactation; however, the common dosage is typically 10mg two to three times daily. Weaning off the drug is recommended to ease any side effects of Metoclopramide and to help the body adjust to continuing the milk supply without it. The side effects of Metoclopramide include tiredness, headaches, and anxiety, but the main concern is increased chances of severe depression. Although depression is the most common side effect for mothers who take the drug, it typically goes away once the medication is stopped.

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The majority of lactation consultants, pediatricians, and doctors do believe there is at least some benefit in using Metoclopramide for lactation. Many studies, including those acknowledged by the American Academy of Pediatrics, have shown significant increases in milk supply and in creating milk supply. The research conducted showed that Metoclopramide significantly increased supply in women with premature babies and women with hormonal conditions like Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which inhibit supply. Women who previously had no milk supply, such as adoptive mothers, also saw positive results.

Metoclopramide is often used by women who no longer or never have released prolactin. These women typically have given birth, but did not initially breast feed and lost their supply, or they may have adopted children or had a surrogate pregnancy. Metoclopramide encourages the brain to release the prolactin, and when combined with frequent pumping and nursing supply is usually established. Other drugs may be introduced along with Metoclopramide for lactation, but usually after discussions with health care professionals and lactation specialists.

There are some physicians, pediatricians, and lactation consultants who do not believe that using Metoclopramide for lactation is beneficial to a woman who wishes to establish or increase milk supply. According to a few studies, women with low milk supply who were not able to increase their supply through the help of professionals and frequent nursing showed no real significant increase after using Metoclopramide. These studies, however, did not note the drug's effectiveness in creating milk supply in women who were not already producing milk.

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