Domperidone

  • Domperidone is used to help prevent you feeling or being sick. It can also be used to treat stomach discomfort and nausea after eating meals.
  • Side-effects from domperidone are rare, but if you faint or feel that your heart is beating quickly, speak with your doctor as soon as possible.
Type of medicine Anti-emetic
Used for Nausea and vomiting
Digestive disorders
Also called Motilium®
Available as Tablets, orodispersible (melt-in-the-mouth) tablets, liquid medicine, and suppositories

Domperidone is used to relieve feelings of sickness (nausea) or being sick (vomiting). Feeling sick can be a common symptom, but it may be due to a number of different causes. You will only be prescribed an anti-emetic like domperidone if the cause of your sickness is known.

Domperidone works by helping to move the food in your stomach through your digestive system more quickly. This helps to stop you from feeling sick, especially where this is caused by digestive disorders such as reflux.

Some preparations of domperidone can be bought from pharmacies, without a prescription. It can be purchased to treat sickness, providing this does not last for more than two days, and you can also buy it to relieve digestive symptoms such as indigestion, and feeling full or bloated after meals. You should not use domperidone which you buy over-the-counter for more than two days for sickness, or for more than two weeks for other digestive symptoms, without seeing a doctor.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking domperidone it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have problems with your liver or kidneys.
  • If you have problems with your heart or if you have been told you have an irregular heart rhythm.
  • If you know you have any problems with your digestive system, such as a blockage or any internal bleeding.
  • If you have a tumour on your pituitary gland known as a prolactinoma.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of domperidone you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
  • Take domperidone exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you. You will be told how much to take and when to take it. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack. Do not take more than four doses in any 24-hour period.
  • Try to take domperidone at the same times each day. This will help you to remember to take your doses.
  • If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose). Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • If you have bought domperidone from a pharmacy, you will have been given tablets which dissolve in your mouth, called Motilium® Instants. Place the tablet on your tongue and allow it to melt before you swallow.
  • If you are taking tablets or liquid medicine prescribed by your doctor, swallow your doses with a drink of water. Take your doses about half an hour before meals. If you take domperidone after a meal, it will still work, but it may take longer to have an effect.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. If you need to take domperidone for more than a month, your doctor will want to check on your progress.
  • If you have bought domperidone from a pharmacy, do not take it for more than two days to relieve sickness. If you still feel sick after this time, make an appointment to see your doctor. If you are taking it to relieve stomach discomfort after eating, you should not use it for more than two weeks, without checking with a doctor.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with domperidone.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any of the following side-effects.

Rare side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 1,000 people who take this medicine What can I do if I experience this?
Breast swelling or tenderness, menstrual changes, leakage of breast milk Let your doctor know about any of these

Important: if you faint or feel that your heartbeats are fast, speak with your doctor straightaway.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
  • If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Last Checked:
13/06/2012
Document ID:
3285 (v25)
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