FROM CBC NEWS: Ont. doctors’ college orders Toronto pediatrician to undergo ‘further education’ on breastfeeding drug

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Woman who suffered severe withdrawal symptoms should not have been prescribed it, assessor finds

Tara Carman, journalist with CBC news writes:

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has expressed concern about the prescribing and oversight practices of a Toronto breastfeeding doctor in a case where a woman was prescribed domperidone, whose off-label use to induce lactation is controversial. 

Domperidone is approved in Canada as a digestive aid, but commonly prescribed off-label to women struggling to breastfeed as a way to increase milk supply, sometimes at doses several times higher than Health Canada’s recommended maximum of 30 mg/day. 

Some women who take it suffer severe psychological withdrawal effects when they stop it abruptly, which is what happened to complainant Joanna McCabe.

Read the entire CBC story here.

From Joanna McCabe:

Thank you Tara Carman for continuing to share the story of women, like myself, who have been harmed by domperidone.

The biggest regret of my life was seeking support for an issue related to breastfeeding only to be prescribed domperidone for low milk supply. Too many women are being told this drug is “safe” and “effective,” and that withdrawal symptoms “rarely, if ever happen”.  To date, there are over 600 women in a Facebook group who have been harmed by this drug, and new members joining every week. Dr. Kaytlin Krutsch, an assistant professor at the InfantRisk Center at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, reports their centre fields several calls a week from American women in crisis trying come off domperidone, a drug that is banned in the US.

It’s been almost 4 years since the nightmare started, and I’m slowly unravelling myself from this mess.  I stopped taking domperidone in May 2020, that’s when the hell started.  I started having horrific intrusive thoughts, akathisia, suicidal ideation, intense anxiety, and other terrible symptoms.  I sought psychiatric “help,” was diagnosed with multiple “mental illnesses” (saw 3 psychiatrists and 7 diagnoses), and started on various cocktails of psychiatric drugs.

Last March, at check up with my family doctor, she told me to listen to a podcast on CBC about domperidone.  I did, and that’s when I learned the truth about what had happened to me.  I wasn’t “mentally ill,” the initial problem was withdrawal from domperidone, the drugs used to treat my symptoms created more problems, which led to more drugs.

I am currently in the process of weaning off all psychiatric drugs.  In the last year, I have weaned off one drug, in the process of weaning another, and have three more to go.  It has been a very hard, painful, and slow process, it will take me years to get off the rest of the drugs safely.  All this for a drug I didn’t need in the first place!

Domperidone is in the class of drugs called antipsychotics.  The withdrawal from antipsychotics can be severe and protracted.  These drugs are known to be neurotoxic, cause cognitive impairment and structural changes to the brain, including irreversible brain damage (ex. tardive dyskinesia) and loss of brain volume.

What I want people to know, is that all classes of psychiatric drugs (antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, sedative/hypnotics, and stimulants) can cause significant adverse reactions, including aggressive behaviour, mania, permanent sexual dysfunction, suicidal ideation, and protracted withdrawal, like I am currently experiencing.  Despite claims that these drugs “treat” a chemical imbalance, there are currently no known biomarkers for any “mental illness”.  In actuality, these drugs can cause a chemical imbalance. Perhaps there are some that may benefit from the use of these drugs, but there is a growing body of evidence suggesting they do more harm than good.

Fear and shame have prevented me from sharing my story, until now. Sharing my story is my way of making meaning out of something terrible.  I want to save others from the pain and suffering I have been through.  Everyone deserves informed consent about the validity of psychiatric “diagnoses” and the dangers of psychiatric drugs.  I will continue my advocacy work in this area; there’s more to come.