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General Practice 2023

Domperidone: what it is for, how to take it and side effects

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Domperidone: what it is for, how to take it and side effects
Domperidone: what it is for, how to take it and side effects

Domperidone is a drug with antiemetic action and stimulating the movements of the stomach and intestine, being indicated for the treatment of conditions related to the delay of gastric emptying such as poor digestion or gastroesophageal reflux, in addition to the treatment of nausea or vomiting caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, for example.

This drug can be found in pharmacies or drugstores in the form of 10 mg tablets or oral suspension of 1 mg/mL or 5 mg/mL, with the trade name Motilium, in the generic form as Domperidone, or with the similar names Peridal, Domperix or Domped.

Domperidone can be used by adults or children over 12 years old, always with medical indication and guidance.


What is it for

Domperidone is indicated for the treatment of digestion problems often associated with delayed gastric emptying, such as

  • Gastroesophageal reflux;
  • Esophagitis;
  • Feeling of bad digestion;
  • Abdominal distension;
  • Abdominal pain in the stomach;
  • Excessive burping or intestinal gas;
  • Heartburn;
  • Burning in the stomach with or without regurgitation of gastric contents.

In addition, domperidone is also indicated in cases of nausea or vomiting caused by changes in the function of gastric and intestinal movements, cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, infections, food poisoning or the side effect of medication for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, such as levodopa or bromocriptine, for example.

Can domperidone be used to increase breast milk production?

Domperidone has no official indication and is approved by ANVISA to increase breast milk production during lactation.

However, some studies [1, 2, 3] show that domperidone has a galactagogue effect, that is, it stimulates breast milk production by increasing blood levels of prolactin, which is the hormone responsible for stimulating milk production by the mammary glands.

Furthermore, these studies have shown that domperidone is safer in its use than other drugs that stimulate breast milk production, such as metoclopramide, for example, as it does not act on the brain, being better tolerated and causing less side effects.

Thus, despite not having an official indication in the drug leaflet, domperidone can be indicated by the obstetrician-gynecologist during lactation, to increase milk production, after a careful evaluation of the woman's he alth and the risks and benefits of its use. Thus, it is possible for the doctor to guide the safe dose and treatment time. See other ways to increase breast milk production.

How to take it

Domperidone should be taken orally, 15 to 30 minutes before meals and, if necessary, at bedtime.

The doses normally recommended for adults and adolescents weighing more than 35 kg are 10 mg, 3 times a day, and the maximum dose of 40 mg per day should not be exceeded.

For children or adolescents, doses should be calculated by the pediatrician according to age and body weight.

This medication should only be taken with medical advice, and the duration of treatment should be a maximum of 1 week for nausea and vomiting, or up to 4 weeks for other indications.

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that may occur during treatment with domperidone are depression, anxiety, decreased sex drive, headache, drowsiness, restlessness, diarrhea, rash, itching, breast enlargement or tenderness, production of milk, lack of menstruation, breast pain or muscle weakness.

Furthermore, although rare, domperidone can also cause severe cardiac arrhythmia, agitation, nervousness, seizures, or even severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention. Therefore, treatment should be interrupted and the nearest emergency department should be sought when symptoms such as difficulty breathing, cough, chest pain, feeling of a closed throat, swelling in the mouth, tongue or face or hives are present. Know how to identify the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.

Who should not use

Domperidone should not be used by infants or children under 12 years old who weigh less than 35 kg, by people who are allergic to domperidone or any other component of the formulation or who have any type of bleeding, bleeding, gastrointestinal obstruction or perforation.

This medicine should be avoided during pregnancy, and use during lactation should only be done if recommended by a doctor.

Furthermore, domperidone should not be used by people who have a pituitary tumor, severe stomach pain, persistent dark stools, liver disease, or who are using drugs that alter metabolism or alter heart rate, such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin, telithromycin, amiodarone, ritonavir or saquinavir.

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