Top 5 Galactagogue Pharmaceuticals for Breastfeeding Support

Updated on March 9, 2018
Daniella Lopez profile image

Danielle Lopez is a published fantasy author, freelance health and medical writer, finance author, and certified birth & bereavement doula.

Breastfeeding success relies heavily on support and understanding.
Breastfeeding success relies heavily on support and understanding. | Source

What is a Galactagogue? Can Galactagogues Fix Low-Milk Supply?

A galactagogue is a food, drug, or supplement that works to stimulate or increase lactation. In pharmaceutical form, galactagogue medications function by interacting with the dopamine system to increase prolactin. Prolactin is a pituitary hormone which, once activated, stimulates milk secretion.

Galactagogue drugs are often used by individuals who, after consulting with a doctor and lactation consultant, have determined that the breastfeeding problems presented are due to low-milk supply and that the patient requires medication to increase milk supply. This is usually concluded after numerous options have been exhausted, such as lip and tongue tie revisions, various breastfeeding positions, and other potentially beneficial methods that could aid in breastfeeding success.

Other instances in which lactation medications may be used include cases of adoption and LGBTQ families. These individuals may seek out breastfeeding drugs to induce lactation without pregnancy, such as prescription drugs Risperidone and Metoclopramide.

Metaclopramide for Breastfeeding Success

Metoclopramide, also known by its name brand Reglan, is a nausea and GI medication shown to improve lactation in mothers with low-milk supply, as well as stimulate lactation without pregnancy.

It is considered one of the safer galactagogue medications on the market, due to its minimal transference from mother to child.

Although it is considered one of the best galactagogue drugs available, Metoclopramide cannot be taken for more than 12 weeks, due to the lack of long term test results on the drug.

Some of the Metoclopramide side effects include: restlessness, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, anxiety, and severe depression. Anyone taking Metoclopramide who begins experiencing any of these symptoms should consult with their health care provider immediately.

Additionally, Metoclopramide should not be taken by anyone with a history of seizures, bleeding ulcers, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, asthma, and liver or kidney failure. Metoclopramide has been noted to cause adverse reactions to people with these specific health concerns.

Sometimes all that is needed to increase milk supply is a good nursing latch.
Sometimes all that is needed to increase milk supply is a good nursing latch. | Source

Domperidone Induced Lactation Aids Those Without Pregnancy

Another GI and nausea drug that is commonly used as a medication to increase milk supply is Domperidone. Also known by its brand name, Motilium, Domperidone is generally considered safe to use as a galactagogue medication. Despite many countries labeling it as a safe drug to use, it is not approved by the United States FDA due to the limited studies conducted on it.

The few studies performed have found that, while Domperidone does pass through the blood brain barrier, it does so to a lesser extent than Metoclopramide, making it an appealing medication choice for some patients. With that said, Domperidone has been found to be less effective than Metoclopramide in raising prolactin levels in individuals who are attempting to induce lactation without pregnancy.

The side effects recorded with Domperidone use include: nausea, dry mouth, abnormal heartbeat, headache, and dizziness. A healthcare professional should be consulted if any of these symptoms are experienced after beginning Domperidone.

Domperidone has been found to cause complications in individuals with a prior history of liver disease, tumors, and stomach bleeding. An alternative medication should be considered if any of these health issues are present or previously experienced.

Risperidone for Lactation Induction

Risperidone, or brand name Risperdal, is an antipsychotic medication that is occasionally prescribed for lactation problems.

The studies performed on infants whose mothers took Risperidone have shown no adverse developmental or physical reactions, despite small traces of the medication excreating into the breast milk. Additionally, this medication has shown some promise in inducing lactation in biological male.

The side effects for Risperidone are quite vast, making it a lactation medication that should only be prescribed if necessary. Some of the side effects include: tremors, uncontrolled movements, spasms, fatigue, insomnia, sun sensitivity, anxiety, agitation, and headache. It should be avoided by people with heart disease, as it is noted for causing abnormal heart rhythm.

Sulpiride and Breastfeeding

Another galactagogue medication not approved within the United States is Sulpiride, also known by brand names Dolmatil and Sulpor.

It is not a commonly prescribed breastfeeding medication because, while studies have shown it does stimulate prolactin, those studies have also indicated that it does little to actually increase milk supply. Most studies have shown that patients still had to supplement milk while taking Sulpiride.

Sulpiride is not approved by the United States FDA because, while it hasn’t shown to cause any adverse effects in infants, it does pass through breast milk in substantially higher levels than what is generally considered safe.

Some documented side effects with Sulpiride include: fatigue, headaches, and depression. It should be avoided by anyone who is high risk for postpartum depression.

Dealing with Breastfeeding Complications? La Leche League International May Be Able to Help

Chlorpromazine for Lactation Use

Commonly used an an antipsychotic medication, Chlorpromazine, or brand name Thorazine, is rarely prescribed for its galactagogue properties. It has been noted to cause drowsiness and lethargy in infants whose mother were on it, which are both problems that can cause further breastfeeding issues. Additionally, it is a medication that has shown to cause some individuals to experience psychotic symptoms and paranoid reactions.

While it may Chlorpromazine may induce lactation, it should likely not be prescribed for use as a galactagogue except for extreme circumstances. Healthcare providers well versed in lactation should be heavily consulted before beginning a course of Chlorpromazine for breastfeeding.

How to Obtain Breastfeeding Medication

Lactation medications for low supply should only be used after numerous other options have been exhausted. The side effects found in some lactation drugs may cause more complications for some individuals than what would make the increased milk production beneficial.

Always consult with an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) whenever a breastfeeding complication is encountered. An IBCLC is a well-trained medical professional with a specialized education in lactation. They are trained to help solve numerous breastfeeding issues, including low-milk supply and inducing lactation without pregnancy. An IBCLC can also refer patients to a different healthcare professional if the breastfeeding issue requires specialized attention.

As with all medications, a healthcare professional should be consulted before beginning a medication for lactation. The patient should be thoroughly evaluated in order to ensure that a medication is even needed and that the proper one is prescribed.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        sandra228 

        7 months ago

        I had to pump w/ both my kids. I used the Medela both times. The best thing to do to build your milk supply is to try to pump as often as you can - every 2 hrs for 20 mins at first, then when you start to get your milk going (more coming in), you can pump every 3 hrs for 15 mins. Drink "Healthy Nursing Tea" three times daily. It also helps to boost your supply.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wehavekids.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)