Exploring the Prescribing Process of Domperidone for Low Milk Supply: A Qualitative Study Among Mothers, IBCLCs, and Family Doctors

Lara A. Tauritz Bakker*, Liset van Dijk, Patricia M.L.A. van den Bemt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: When mothers are confronted with milk supply problems, taking domperidone is regularly suggested. However, domperidone has been associated with sudden cardiac death and caution in prescribing is advised. In 2016, a multidisciplinary group of authors from a tertiary academic hospital (Erasmus MC) published a clinical protocol in a leading Dutch physicians’ journal to support Dutch family physicians in prescribing domperidone to stimulate lactation. Research aim: To explore consumer and health care provider perspectives and experiences regarding the prescribing of domperidone for lactation insufficiency following publication of a national clinical protocol. Methods: A cross-sectional qualitative study was performed using semi-structured interviews (N = 40) based on a topic list covering the prescribing process. Participants were mothers (n = 18) who had been advised to try domperidone to boost their milk supply between November 2016 and May 2018, their International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (n = 9), and their family physicians (n = 15). Another group of participants (mothers; n = 6) answered short questionnaires. All interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed using ATLAS.ti software. The resulting list of codes was organized according to the topics. Results: In the process leading to domperidone use to stimulate lactation, participant family physicians relied on the IBCLC, pharmacist, or mother to guide the prescription of domperidone, often citing the published national clinical protocol as back up. The medical safeguards incorporated in the protocol (e.g., taking medical history, physical exam, performing electrocardiograms, limiting dosage) were usually not implemented. Conclusions: Though the availability of a national clinical protocol in which the prescribing of domperidone for lactation is supported appeared to increase the willingness of participant family physicians to prescribe, gaps were identified between clinical practice and this clinical protocol for prescribing domperidone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-760
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

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