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Reglan for Milk Production

Some doctors prescribe Reglan for milk production in women whose supply of breast milk is not adequate. Although the Reglan drug (metoclopramide) was never designed or intended for increasing breast milk production, it was noticed that a side effect of this medication is an increase in a woman's level of prolactin - a hormone that is crucial to breast milk production.

FDA Approvals, Pregnancy, Lactation

Reglan is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), nausea and vomiting, and diabetic gastroparesis. Its use for these conditions in a pregnant woman is a decision that the woman and her doctor should consider carefully — that is, whether the benefits of Reglan will be worth risking the potential side effect of Reglan. As a Class B-pregnancy drug, Reglan is not recommended for use by pregnant women.

Reglan Is Excreted in Breastmilk

In the same way, a woman who is breastfeeding on Reglan may well carry some risks. Reglan is excreted in breast milk, so, when a woman is taking Reglan, so is the baby she breastfeeds. The use of Reglan for milk production is thus a rather questionable practice. Although it is not illegal to prescribe the drug to pregnant women, its full risks to both the mother and baby are not known.

Why Reglan May Be Prescribed for Milk Production

A woman may need increased breast milk production for a number of reasons, such as:

  • a health condition of the mother decreases her milk supply
  • a woman is breastfeeding an adopted infant
  • extended breast-pumping is being done for a premature or ill newborn
  • a woman is restarting breastfeeding after weaning her infant
  • she is trying to breastfeed after undergoing breast surgery

Side Effects of Reglan for Milk Production

However, even the "milder" side effects of Reglan should give a woman pause — and she should consider the possible corollary effects on the baby she is breastfeeding:

  • breast tenderness/swelling
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • more frequent need to urinate

Even more sobering is the February 2009 advisory from the FDA requiring labeling changes for Reglan that explain how it may produce tardive dyskinesia — a debilitating movement disorder.

Are You Considering Reglan Use?

If you are having trouble producing enough milk for your infant and your physician has recommended Reglan, it is important for you to fully understand the potential side effects of a Reglan treatment. For more information, contact a Reglan lawyer today. If you have already used Reglan while breastfeeding and have been injured, we can help you file a claim and recover compensation for any injuries you've suffered.

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