Cardiovascular Safety Profile and Clinical Experience With High-Dose Domperidone Therapy for Nausea and Vomiting

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Domperidone is a dopamine receptor antagonist with peripheral prokinetic and central antiemetic properties. Prolongation of the QTc interval with chronic use of oral domperidone in standard doses has been reported in the literature. Our goal was to investigate cardiac toxicity in patients receiving 2-fold greater doses than in previous reports.


A retrospective chart review was conducted of patients with nausea (N) and vomiting (V) receiving domperidone from 2009 to 2013 under an Investigational New Drug (IND) protocol. Patient demographics, indications for therapy, clinical outcomes, cardiac symptoms and electrocardiogram tracings were reviewed. Prolonged QTc was verified if >470 milliseconds in females (F) and >450 milliseconds in males (M).


A total of 64 patients, 44 female (37% Hispanic, 60% white, 3% African American), were taking domperidone for diabetic gastroparesis 45%; idiopathic gastroparesis 36%; chronic N&V 8%; dumping syndrome 5%; cyclic vomiting 5% and conditioned vomiting 1%. Mean duration of therapy was 8 months (range, 3 months to 4 years). Doses ranged from 40 to 120 mg/d with 90% receiving 80 to 120 mg compared with the standard dose of 40 mg. Of note, 73% of subjects benefited from treatment with reduced nausea and vomiting. Thirty-seven patients had follow-up electrocardiograms available, and they showed that the mean QTc at baseline was 424 milliseconds ± 28.4 (SD) compared with 435 milliseconds ± 27.2 (SD) at follow-up (not significant). Ten of these patients had prolonged QTc at F/U ranging from 453 to 509 milliseconds, without any cardiovascular complaints. There was no relationship between prolonged QTc and daily dose of domperidone, body mass index or age.


Our data indicate that at very high dosing, the prokinetic/antiemetic agent domperidone has a low risk of adverse cardiovascular events while exhibiting good clinical efficacy.

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