Reglan for Lactation: What You Need To Know
Any breastfeeding mom will do anything to maintain a healthy breastmilk supply. What more those moms who have insufficient breastmilk production? It isn’t surprising why most of them rely on food and drugs like Reglan for lactation.
Are you a first-time-mom or someone who has been there before, but just the same, is having a hard time producing breastmilk? What have you done so far to increase your milk supply? Have you tried eating breastmilk-producing foods (like oats, leafy vegetables, soup, etc.) or how about taking food supplements or medications to help you with your supply?
Whatever you have done so far, we totally understand you. We feel you. As we earlier said, any mom will do anything just to give the best for their babies – in this case, the best milk ever. If there is one thing that mommies all over the world share – that is to ensure that we give nothing but the finest to our children from the moment they are born up to they get old.
With regards to milk feeding, breastmilk is undoubtedly the greatest of all. No wonder why a lot of moms (new and old) – especially those having a hard time lactating relies on milk-producing food and supplements, as well as in medicines like Reglan for lactation to stabilize and be able to create a better milk output.
By now, you are probably even more curious about this product called, Reglan. What is this Reglan for lactation, really? Well, we gathered a few information about this medicine. As you read on, you will find out what this drug is all about, what class of drug does it belong to, how does it affect lactation, and what are its side effects among babies and mommies.
What is Reglan?
Reglan, a metoclopramide formulation, is a prescription drug given to nursing women to help increase their breastmilk supply. Metoclopramide helps increase the prolactin hormone, the hormone that works on the increase in milk production.
Apart from increasing breastmilk supply, Reglan is also used to help address a stomach condition called, gastric reflux, which could happen to both adults and premature or even full-term babies.
What drug classification does metoclopramide (Reglan) belong to?
Metoclopramide (Reglan) belongs to the prokinetic agents’ drug classification. It basically works in speeding up the movement of food in the stomach through the intestines. It blocks off natural substance (dopamine).
What is the use of Reglan for lactation?
Metoclopramide (Reglan) is used as a galactagogue, which helps increase breastmilk supply at an average of 66 to 100 percent. It has been used for the said purpose in North America for more than two decades already. By taking Reglan, your serum prolactin increases, which results in better milk production. Depending on your need, your doctor may prescribe to take 15mg of Reglan three times a day for two weeks. There are studies conducted, however, stating that Reglan’s effectiveness is more visible three weeks after taking this medication.
Furthermore, depending on the body of the mom, some may need to religiously take the medication to good milk production. For some, though, a sudden stop of taking the medicine may lead to less milk supply. Based on studies, Reglan helps about 80% of mommies help produce more milk.
Note that mommies taking Reglan must not forget to empty their breasts as completely as possible for at least eight times a day to ensure there is room for continuous milk production.
While there are some who finds it effective, there are also some studies conducted that find the clinical value of metoclopramide in increasing breastmilk output questionable.
Effects of Reglan on Infants
Based on the American Academy of Pediatrics, metoclopramide (Reglan) is a drug “whose effect on nursing infants is unknown or may be of concern.”
Studies show that during breastfeeding, there is only a little transfer of medicine to infants. While the majority of the studies conducted say that there really is no adverse effect on babies whose mommies are taking Reglan, there are also some who experienced intestinal discomfort. Researchers say that the dosage of the medicine may have affected it or it could be that the infants just have sensitive tummies.
Side Effects of Reglan on Breastfeeding Moms
While it is widely known to help mommies having a hard time producing milk have sufficient breastmilk supply, metoclopramide (Reglan), has apparently had negative side effects too – just like any other medications.
Some nursing mothers who are using Reglan for lactation experienced some side effects, which include fatigue, irritability, diarrhea, sedation, gastric upset, nausea, seizures, extrapyramidal effects, and the most common of all, depression.
Among the concerns of taking metoclopramide (Reglan) is that it has the ability to penetrate the blood-brain carrier. When it does, it results in side effects on the central nervous system, which include depression/anxiety, neurological problems, and involuntary body movements or dystonia especially when the medicine is taken longer. Lactation specialists and physicians reportedly suggest that postpartum women are more vulnerable to encounter the side effects of metoclopramide (Reglan). Thus, suggesting that women who have a history of depression must avoid taking this medication. The depression side effect usually develops after 3 to 4 weeks of taking the medicine. Symptoms of depression go away once the woman stops taking Reglan.
We keep saying that mommies will do anything and everything all for the love of their children. In this case, specifically for their infants. However, there is also a saying that goes, “Mothers know best”. While this quote commonly refers to the relationship between a mom and her child, the mommy knowing what is best for her kid, we can also use it in our breastfeeding journey.
Mothers know what is best for herself, and for her own sanity. Even if we are willing to go the extra mile just to give the best for our babies, we should also never forget that our babies need a healthy mom. No baby would ever want to have a mom who forgets about her own health.
A disclaimer — we are not saying that Reglan for lactation is not an option or is not good because many moms proved its effectiveness. While it did not work for some women, it did for the others. We highly recommend, though, that before taking this drug, you speak to your doctor first. Talk to your attending physician about the drug, its causes, and effects, and get as much information about the product as you can. Your doctor will surely understand.
Should your physician highly suggest that you take the medicine for your baby’s sake, then so be it. After all, they know what is and what is not good for you and your baby, and that they will surely recommend only what is suitable for your situation. But please do not forget to share your medical history to your doctor first – especially if you have a history of depression – to avoid the negative side effects.