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Breastfeeding Pills' Risky Results

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New moms across the country are popping pills meant to alleviate gastrointestinal distress-not because their stomachs hurt, but because they want more breast milk.

The drugs are typically prescribed by lactation consultants-specialists who help women cope with breastfeeding issues-who say the pills can increase prolactin, the hormone responsible for breast-milk production. But a growing chorus of doctors says there is little if any evidence that the drugs-one of which has not been approved by the FDA-are actually effective at boosting prolactin. More troubling, they say, the drugs can pose serious health risks to women who use them.

The two most popular drugs, according to medical and lactation experts, are Reglan, which has been found in rare cases to cause an irreversible facial muscle-spasm condition, and Domperidone, which is not FDA-approved and mostly found via Canadian online pharmacies. One of Reglan's side effects, according to the FDA, is depression-a condition some new mothers are already at risk of.              

While the exact number of women using the drugs is difficult to determine, the topic is hotly discussed at breastfeeding support groups like La Leche League and in online new-mother forums. On the Fertile Thoughts blog, for example, commenters have referred to Domperidone as a "wonder drug" and traded tips on where to find it. One site, BigMountainDrugs.com, was recently listing 1,000 capsules for $118, alongside advertisements for discounted Viagra.   


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