Response of Diamond-Blackfan anemia to metoclopramide: Evidence for a role for prolactin in erythropoiesis

Janis L. Abkowitz, Gerard Schaison, Farid Boulad, Deborah L. Brown, George R. Buchanan, Christine A. Johnson, Jeffrey C. Murray, Kathleen M. Sabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A 47-year-old woman with severe macrocytic anemia markedly improved during the second and third trimesters of 3 pregnancies and when breast-feeding her 2 children. Because the serum prolactin level is elevated at these times, we later treated her with metoclopramide (10 mg orally 3 times daily), a medication known to induce prolactin release. Her serum prolactin levels increased from 7 to 133 ng/mL (normal < 20 ng/mL) and hematocrit from 17% to 22% to 35%. With continued therapy (now 10 mg orally daily), her hematocrit has ranged from 30% to 40% for 6 years, although the macrocytosis persists (mean corpuscular volume, 100-112 fL). On the basis of this observation, a pilot study was undertaken of metoclopramide therapy in patients with Diamond-Blackfan anemia who were refractory to low doses of corticosteroids. Fifteen patients were enrolled and 9 completed the planned 16 weeks of therapy. Three individuals responded, suggesting that this therapeutic approach may benefit others. As with the index case, the anemia did not improve until 12 to 15 weeks of therapy had been completed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2687-2691
Number of pages5
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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