Drugs to Increase Lactation
Two hormones are necessary for the production of breast milk: oxytocin and prolactin. These lactation-governing hormones are pituitary, not ovarian hormones (such as oestrogen). There are currently no human prolactin medications available, but generic domperidone (brand name Motilium) is a drug which has, as a side effect, the increased production of the hormone prolactin by the pituitary gland. This helps develop a more abundant milk supply more quickly, as prolactin is the hormone which stimulates the cells in the mother's breast to produce milk.
Another related but older medication is metoclopramide (brand name Reglan). This is also known to increase milk production, but it has frequent side effects which have made its use for many nursing mothers unacceptable (fatigue, irritability, depression). In general, the use of domperidone for breastfeeding is much preferable; it has fewer side effects because it does not cross the blood-brain barrier in significant amounts.
In many countries domperidone tablets are available without prescription. Generally, start at 20 milligrams (two 10 mg tablets) four times a day - about every 6 hours. After starting domperidone for breastfeeding, it may take three or four days before any effect is noticed, though sometimes women notice an effect within 24 hours.
It appears to take two to three weeks to get the maximum breast milk production effect. Most women take domperidone for 3 to 8 weeks, but women who are nursing adopted babies usually take the drug continuously in order to maintain lactation.
(Adapted from information provided on www.secondtype.info)
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