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How can I save money on Motilium (domperidone)?

Answered by Rebecca Farley | Reviewed by a licensed U.S. pharmacist | Posted June 26, 2020
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Domperidone, sold under the brand name Motilium, is a medication prescribed for nausea and vomiting. Patients have also used it to encourage breast milk production, although it is not approved for this use in any country. Domperidone is available in 112 nations worldwide, although it is not currently marketed in the United States. If you feel you would benefit from a domperidone prescription, the FDA allows U.S. patients to obtain domperidone internationally through an expanded access investigational new drug application. Physicians can apply to this program on behalf of their patients with severe gastrointestinal conditions.

European Union countries all currently sell domperidone. If you are not located in a country with approved distribution, you may be able to purchase it from accredited international pharmacies with a valid prescription from your provider. Depending on the condition for which you seek treatment, the pharmacy may decline to dispense this product to you. Please check with the online pharmacy before ordering your medication.

 

First patented in the 1980s, domperidone was initially both a prescription and over-the-counter medicine. However, after research indicated that the drug had the serious possible side effect of cardiac arrest, the drug became a prescription-only medicine. The drug cannot be administered to those under the age of twelve, as evidence that it works on patients below 35 kg (about 77 pounds) is slim.

 

Domperidone is a very affordable drug at PharmacyChecker-accredited international pharmacies, selling for less than $0.25 per tablet. Domperidone is also one of the interesting cases where the generic drug is more expensive than the brand name drug. This is sometimes the case in countries where government bureaus negotiate the prices of brand name drugs but leave generics to the whims of the market.

 

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Comparing Motilium (domperidone) Prices

Drug Strength Quantity Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price
Motilium (Domperidone) 10 mg 30 tablets $5.79
Domperidone (Generic) 10mg 30 tablets $9.42
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Why isn’t Motilium approved in the U.S.?

The FDA has cited concerns regarding domperidone’s potentially fatal side effects. In 2004, the agency published a warning against compounding domperidone in the U.S., highlighting adverse side effects in women who were nursing. In a statement, the FDA wrote:

 

“This warning was the result of the Agency's concern about the potential public health risks associated with the use of domperidone by lactating women to enhance breast milk production (i.e., the risk of cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and sudden death outweigh the potential benefit of domperidone use in this population).”

 

The FDA acknowledges that the medicine can be helpful, especially to patients suffering from chronic nausea. If you and your doctor deem domperidone appropriate, you can establish an expanded access investigational new drug application through your primary care provider.

What anti-nausea meds can I take in the U.S. if Motilium isn’t available?

Again, you may get access to domperidone through your primary care provider but that might not be your best option. There are a number of new medications (domperidone was first approved in the ‘80s) that are approved in the United States. Ondansetron (marketed as Zograf), one of the more popular anti-nausea medications, has an average retail price of $60 for ten tablets. The anti-histamines meclizine and diphenhydramine (Dramamine) can also treat nausea.

 

Compare Ondansetron Prices

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Can I take Motilium (domperidone) for heartburn?

Motilium is no longer approved for treatment of heartburn. As it became apparent that side effects could be dangerous, the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency decreed that the medication should not be used for everyday conditions like heartburn. Instead, it should be used exclusively for short-term vomiting and nausea, like those associated with stomach viruses or post-operative stress.

What are the side effects of Motilium (domperidone)?

According to the NHS, the most common side effect of Motilium is dry mouth. Other side effects include:

 

  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Light-headedness
  • Loss of balance or muscle control

Pharmacist TIP: When taking Motilium, take the tablets 15 to 30 minutes before a meal to help with absorption. The tablets should be swallowed whole with water and not be crushed or chewed.

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Where is Motilium manufactured?

Janssen-Cliag, the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson and Johnson, manufactures the drug domperidone sold in the U.S. in India, according to packaging.

According to patient leaflet information, Motilium marketed in the UK is manufactured by Zentiva in Romania.

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