Domperidone is used to treat nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (being sick) and to relieve symptoms of indigestion or dyspepsia. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Domperidone is also called Motilium or Prokinex.
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What is domperidone?
Domperidone is used to treat nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (being sick). It may also be used to relieve symptoms of indigestion or dyspepsia. Domperidone works by increasing the movement of food through the stomach and the digestive tract more quickly and in this way reduces the feeling of bloating, or fullness and indigestion. It also works by blocking the action of a chemical in your brain which causes the feeling of nausea and vomiting. In New Zealand, domperidone is available as tablets (10mg).
- The usual dose of domperidone is 10mg up to three times a day. Do not take more than 4 doses (40mg) in a 24 hour period. This can increase your chance of side effects.
- Domperidone should be taken for a short period of time only (usually not longer than seven days) at the lowest dose to have an effect. If you are taking domperidone for nausea or vomiting, you can stop taking it when you start to feel better.
- Always take your domperidone exactly as your doctor has told you.
- The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much domperidone to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.
How to take domperidone
- Domperidone is best taken about 15 to 30 minutes before meals, with a glass of water.
- If you take domperidone after a meal, it will still work, but it may take longer to have an effect.
- It is not harmful if you miss a dose of domperidone. If you miss a dose, take it when you remember. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
Precautions before starting domperidone
- Do you have problems with your kidneys or liver?
- Do you have problems with your heart, such as heart failure or an irregular heart rate?
- Have you had problems with your digestive tract such as a blockage or bleeding?
- Are you pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding?
- Are you taking any other medicines, including medicines you can buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines?
If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start domperidone. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.
What are the side effects of domperidone?
Like all medicines, domperidone can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.
Changes in heart rate
Domeperidone can cause changes in your heart rate or abnormal heart rhythms. This is more likely to happen if you already have problems with your heart, are at risk of getting heart problems (such as have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, are overweight, have diabetes, smoke and drink large amounts of alcohol), are over 60 years old and take more than 30 mg per day. Taking domperidone with some other medicines can also cause changes in your heart rate.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting domperidone or before starting any new medicines.
- If you get symptoms such as dizziness, fainting or heart palpitations while you are taking domperidone, you should stop taking it and seek medical attention. These symptoms may be due to an abnormal heart rhythm caused by domperidone.
Other side effects
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Domperidone may interact with a number of important medications so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting domperidone or before starting any new medicines.
Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets:
- Domperidone New Zealand Formulary
- Domperidone (Motilium, Prokinex) – conclusion of review of benefits and risks of harm. Trans-Tasman Early Warning System - Alert Communication, Medsafe NZ, December 2014
Additional resources for healthcare professionals
Motilium Medsafe, NZ
Domperidone – at the heart of the matter Medsafe, NZ, 2015
Managing gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) in adults – an update BPAC, NZ, 2014
Irritable bowel syndrome in adults – not just a gut feeling BPAC, NZ, 2014