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Domperidone Side Effects

By Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D. ; Updated August 14, 2017

Domperidone is a medication commonly used to treat the nausea that some Parkinson's medications can cause. It works by increasing muscle contractions within the digestive system, which helps speed the food along. It's not currently available in the United States and can only be obtained via prescription.

Significance

Domperidone works in part by blocking chemical signaling between neurons. It can take some time for the body to adjust to it. As a result, most physicians recommend a follow-up visit after a week of using the medications to check its effectiveness and decide whether you should continue using it.

Common Minor Side Effects

Domperidone can cause various minor side effects. The most common include headache, mild dizziness, flushing of the face and skin, nervousness and irritability. These side effects are most common during the first seven days of using domperidone and do not require medical attention unless they cause extreme discomfort. Other side effects relate to the breast; men may experience swelling and pain of the breasts, and women may experience milk discharge from their nipples.

Less Common Minor Side Effects

Some of the less common side effects of domperidone include constipation or diarrhea. Other patients experience changes in how often they urinate; cramps of the legs and stomach; sluggishness and drowsiness; and loss of muscle strength. Although alarming, these side effects usually abate after several days as the body adjusts to the medication. As a result, these symptoms don't require medical attention unless they are severe or persist for more than two weeks.

Serious Side Effects

Some of the side effects of using domperidone can be dangerous and should prompt a visit to the doctor, regardless of when the next follow-up visit is. These can include swelling of the mouth, problems with balance and muscle control, as well as swelling of the feet, hands, legs or face. In addition, domperidone occasionally causes a fast, irregular heartbeat.

Overdose

If too much domperidone is taken, it can cause difficulty in speaking, fainting and light-headedness as well as dizziness, rapid heartbeat and rapid loss of balance or control of muscles. These symptoms require immediate emergency medical attention.

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