Last update Feb. 22, 2018

Ergometrine Maleate

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

Ergot derivative which is used in the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage.

It has frequent and serious side effects (nausea, vomiting, headache, hypertension, arrhythmias, angina and infarction) that do not occur with oxytocin, so the latter is preferable to reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
They have occurred serious poisonings in infants when giving it intramuscularly due to confusion with other medication for newborn (Dargaville 1998).

Data on excretion into breast milk is lacking; the excretion of another product of the same family and similar chemical structure, Methylergometrine, has been shown to be negligible.

It may cause shortening of the duration of breastfeeding (Jordan 2009, Begley 1990) by decreasing the concentration of prolactin and inhibiting lactation (Canales 1976, Shane 1974). These effects have been demonstrated to be much more intense that in the case of Methylergometrine.

Until there is more published data on this drug in relation to breastfeeding, safer known alternatives may be preferable, especially during the neonatal period and in case of prematurity.

The limited use of ergot derivatives should not cause problems in infants (Hale 2017 p.337). It is advisable to use the lowest effective dose and avoid prolonged use.


  • Methylergometrine Maleate (Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.)
  • Oxytocin (Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Ergometrine Maleate is also known as

Ergometrine Maleate in other languages or writings:


Ergometrine Maleate belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Ergometrine Maleate in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 60 %
Molecular weight 442 daltons
Tmax 0.5 - 3 hours
0.5 - 2 hours


  1. Pfizer. Ergometrine. Drug Summary. 2017 Full text (in our servers)
  2. Brown A, Jordan S. Active management of the third stage of labor may reduce breastfeeding duration due to pain and physical complications. Breastfeed Med. 2014 Dec;9(10):494-502. Abstract
  3. Jordan S, Emery S, Watkins A, Evans JD, Storey M, Morgan G. Associations of drugs routinely given in labour with breastfeeding at 48 hours: analysis of the Cardiff Births Survey. BJOG. 2009 Abstract
  4. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Moretti ME, Lee A, Ito S. Which drugs are contraindicated during breastfeeding? Practice guidelines. Can Fam Physician. 2000 Sep;46:1753-7. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. de Groot AN, van Dongen PW, Vree TB, Hekster YA, van Roosmalen J. Ergot alkaloids. Current status and review of clinical pharmacology and therapeutic use compared with other oxytocics in obstetrics and gynaecology. Drugs. 1998 Abstract
  7. Dargaville PA, Campbell NT. Overdose of ergometrine in the newborn infant: acute symptomatology and long-term outcome. J Paediatr Child Health. 1998 Abstract
  8. Begley CM. The effect of ergometrine on breast feeding. Midwifery. 1990 Abstract
  9. Carroli G, Grant A. The effect of ergometrine on breast feeding. Midwifery. 1990 Abstract
  10. Jolivet A, Robyn C, Huraux-Rendu C, Gautray JP. [Effect of ergot alkaloid derivatives on milk secretion in the immediate postpartum period]. J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 1978 Jan;7(1):129-34. French. Abstract
  11. Canales ES, Garrido JT, Zárate A, Mason M, Soria J. Effect of ergonovine on prolactin secretion and milk let-down. Obstet Gynecol. 1976 Abstract
  12. Shane JM, Naftolin F. Effect of ergonovine maleate on puerperal prolactin. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1974 Abstract

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