Medications are often used for off-label purposes, meaning a drug has not been approved for treating certain conditions by the FDA, however, the drug may be beneficial. Using drugs for off-label uses is largely experimental, but depending on the drug, as well as supervision by a good doctor, medications can safely be used for off-label purposes. Women often use medications off-label to promote fertility and lactation.
Off-Label Medications to Promote Fertility
Struggling with fertility is something no woman wants to endure. Some women are hesitant to jump right into fertility medications which have an increased risk of multiple gestation (twins, triplets or more) and other complications such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
Over-the-counter aspirin is thought to promote fertility by thickening the endometrial lining, increasing blood flow and promoting healthy implantation. Many fertility websites recommend taking 81mg (baby aspirin) once a day until a pregnancy is achieved. Some studies even suggest that low-dose aspirin may even prevent the chance of miscarriage by up to 50%. Other studies, however, show that long-term aspirin use could reduce fertility by affected ovulation. An aspirin regimen should not be undertaken without discussing it first with a qualified caregiver as certain individuals may have conditions that could make aspirin dangerous.
Guaifenesin is an over-the-counter cough syrup better known by the brand name Robitussin. Guaifenesin works on coughs and colds by loosening and thinning mucous in the lungs and appears to have the same affect on cervical mucous. Taking guaifenesin may promote sperm-friendly cervical mucous which could help to achieve a pregnancy. Many doctors recommend women take guaifenesin if they are on certain fertility medications known to reduce cervical mucous quality.
Off-Label Medications to Promote Lactation
For a woman who truly wants to breastfeed her child, struggling with an inadequate milk supply can be heartbreaking. There are many herbal supplements, and non-medicinal methods to increase milk supply, but somethings these aren’t enough. Three specific prescription medications have been shown to increase milk supply by increasing the levels of the milk-producing hormone, prolactin.
Metoclopramide (Reglan, Maxolon, Parmin, Maxeran), a drug used to treat heartburn caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, helps increase a woman’s milk supply by lowering dopamine levels and elevating prolactin levels. Metoclopramide does pass through the breast milk and may cause gastric issues, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in the baby. Because metoclopramid is a dopamine inhibitor, it can lead to severe depression in the mother and most caregivers advise against it’s use for lactation, especially in mothers with a history of depression or mental illness.
Domperidone (Motilium), a drug used to treat gastrointestinal conditions, is not available in the United States except through certain compounding pharmacies and has not been approved by the FDA for use in lactating women. Domperidone works on the breast milk supply by inhibiting dopamine production and promoting production of prolactin. Domperidone has some serious side affects; cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest and sudden death. Domperidone has been pulled from the market in many countries and the FDA issued a warning about the danger of it’s use while breastfeeding.
Sulpiride (Eglonyl, Dolmatil, Sulpitil, Sulparex, Equemote), a drug used to treat schizophrenia, increases the levels of prolactin in the body, thus increasing breast milk supply. Sulpiride is not known to have side affects on a nursing infant, but little information is available as the drug is not available in many countries.
Using Off-Label Medications Safely
Even with over-the-counter medications, it is important to discuss all medication usage with a doctor. Some medications can have serious side affects on individuals with certain conditions. Even with prescription medications readily available online without a prescription, these drugs may not be safe and could prove to be fatal. Before starting any regimen of medications, always consult a physician first to discuss options, risk factors and possible side affects prior to use.
How Does Baby Aspirin Help With Trying to Get Pregnant?
Aspirin and Infertility
Natural Fertility Boosters
Increasing Milk Supply
Prescription Drugs Used for Increasing Milk Supply