2012/03/10 – Comments from Dr. Jack Newman, Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute
Based on a study that was published in Belgium which looked at over 1000 cases of sudden death and found that some of the people who died suddenly were taking domperidone, Health Canada has put out a warning about possible concerns about treating with domperidone. This is a bit of an overreaction on the part of Health Canada. Well, a big overreaction given the data.
Note that in the study, the youngest person who died was 55 and the average age of those who died was 75 years. What has this to do with breastfeeding mothers who are rarely older than 45 years and are usually in reasonably
good health? Furthermore, this information came from a data base with no clinical information. It simply has information that so and so died suddenly and was taking such and such a drug. The thing is that domperidone in these patients was used for reflux and we know that heart disease is frequently misdiagnosed as reflux; severe pain at the top of the abdomen or lower part of the chest is typical of both reflux and cardiac pain.
Misdiagnosis is particularly possible in Europe where domperidone is available in countries like the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands without a prescription and it is likely that many people are self-diagnosing
So that’s it and it does not mean that domperidone kills. I will continue to prescribe domperidone at our doses which are based on many years of clinical experience. I have treated many thousands of women with it with only minor side effects. I believe this article from Belgium proves nothing and does not require us to stop prescribing it.
It would be a pity that mothers and babies not benefit from domperidone when used in conjunction with our Protocol to manage breastmilk intake.