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Drug Profile

The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.

Limited Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: metoclopramide (met oh KLOE pra mide)
Brand name(s): METOZOLV ODT, REGLAN
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Drugs for Nausea
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy Warning

No valid data are available from animal studies. Use during pregnancy only for clear medical reasons. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant before you take this drug.

Breast-Feeding Warning

Metoclopramide is excreted in human milk. Because metoclopromide causes mammary tumors in animal studies, you should consult with your doctor if you are planning to nurse.

Safety Warnings For This Drug [top]

Tardive Dyskinesia

  • Metoclopramide can cause tardive dyskinesia, a serious movement disorder that is often irreversible. There is no known treatment for tardive dyskinesia. The risk of developing tardive dyskinesia increases with duration of treatment and total cumulative dose. 
  • Discontinue metoclopramide in patients who develop signs or symptoms of tardive dyskinesia.  In some patients, symptoms may lessen or resolve after metoclopramide is stopped.
  • Avoid treatment with metoclopramide for longer than 12 weeks because of the increased risk of developing tardive dyskinesia with long-term use.[1]

Drugs used to treat cancer often cause severe nausea and vomiting, either immediately after the drug is taken or several hours later. You can treat this kind of nausea and vomiting by changing your diet or by taking an antinausea drug. You should always try dietary changes first.

  • Eat small, frequent meals so that your stomach is never empty.
  • When you get up from sleeping or resting, eat some dry crackers or toast before you start being active.
  • Drink carbonated drinks or other clear liquids such as soups and gelatin.
  • Eat tart foods such as lemons and pickles.
  • Do not eat foods with strong smells.

Facts About This Drug [top]

Metoclopramide (REGLAN) increases the tone of the muscle at the junction of the stomach and the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach) and increases stomach contractions. The drug relieves symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, heartburn and a feeling of fullness after meals in people with diabetes who have a condition in which the stomach takes too long to empty (diabetic gastroparesis). The drug also controls reflux esophagitis, a condition in which the...

Metoclopramide (REGLAN) increases the tone of the muscle at the junction of the stomach and the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach) and increases stomach contractions. The drug relieves symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, heartburn and a feeling of fullness after meals in people with diabetes who have a condition in which the stomach takes too long to empty (diabetic gastroparesis). The drug also controls reflux esophagitis, a condition in which the stomach contents flow backward into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

Patients over the age of 60 should generally be taking less than the usual adult dose, because older adults often do not tolerate metoclopramide well.

The use of metoclopramide tablets is recommended for adults only.[2]

This drug should not be used to treat motion sickness or vertigo (dizziness).

 

Metoclopramide is now one of a limited number of drugs for which the FDA requires an FDA-approved Medication Guide be dispensed when the prescription is filled. By clicking here, you can see the Medication Guide for metoclopramide. An FDA advisory committee has unanimously recommended that all prescription drugs be accompanied by such Medication Guides, but at present, less than 5 percent of drugs are. Unregulated, often dangerously incomplete information leaflets not approved by the FDA accompany the other 95 percent of drugs.

2011: Health Canada (an agency similar to the FDA in Canada) issued an advisory requiring stronger and more detailed warnings on the drug label of metoclopramide to include information on the risk of the neurological movement disorder tardive dyskinesia. Metoclopramide is not authorized in Canada for the following: treatment of hiccups, diabetic gastroparesis, nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, or bloating or constipation associated with eating disorders.[3]

2013: The European Medicines Agency’s Committee on Medicinal Products for Human Use informed the public that the agency was recommending changes on the use of products containing metoclopramide in the European Union. These changes include restrictions on the dose and the duration of therapy. The aim of the restrictions is to minimize the risks of already-known neurological side effects of metoclopramide.[4]

2015: Health Canada issued an advisory on the risk of extrapyramidal symptoms (symptoms of a drug-induced movement disorder, which includes tardive dyskinesia) in children taking metoclopramide. Health Canada advised that metoclopramide should never be used in children less than one year old and should not be used in children more than one year old unless the benefit is greater than the risk.[5]

Before You Use This Drug [top]

Do not use if you have or have had:

  • epilepsy or seizures
  • stomach or intestinal bleeding, obstruction, or perforation
  • pheochromocytoma

Tell your doctor if you have or have had:

  • allergies to metoclopramide, procaine, or procainamide
  • asthma
  • high blood pressure
  • kidney problems
  • mental depression
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • pregnancy or are breast-feeding

Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.

When You Use This Drug [top]

  • Do not drink alcohol or use other drugs that can cause drowsiness.
  • Until you know how you react to this drug, do not drive or perform other activities requiring alertness.

How to Use This Drug [top]

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it if it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  • Do not share your medication with others.
  • Take the drug at the same time(s) each day.
  • Take 30 minutes before meals and at bedtime for maximum effectiveness.
  • Oral solution: Mix with liquid or semisolid food such as water, juice, soda, applesauce, or pudding.
  • Store at room temperature with lid on tightly. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not expose to heat, moisture, or strong light. Do not let the liquid form freeze. Keep out of reach of children.

Interactions with Other Drugs [top]

The following drugs, biologics (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic antibodies), or foods are listed in Evaluations of Drug Interactions 2003 as causing “highly clinically significant” or “clinically significant” interactions when used together with any of the drugs in this section. In some sections with multiple drugs, the interaction may have been reported for one but not all drugs in this section, but we include the interaction because the drugs in this section are similar to one another. We have also included potentially serious interactions listed in the drug’s FDA-approved professional package insert or in published medical journal articles. There may be other drugs, especially those in the families of drugs listed below, that also will react with this drug to cause severe adverse effects. Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist the drugs you are taking and tell them if you are taking any of these interacting drugs:

acetaminophen, cabergoline, cyclosporine, digoxin, DOSTINEX, EFFEXOR, fosfomycin, LANOXICAPS, LANOXIN, levodopa, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (e.g., phenelzine), MONUROL, NEORAL, pergolide, PERMAX, REQUIP, ropinirole, SANDIMMUNE, SINEMET, STALEVO, SUMYCIN, tetracycline, TYLENOL, venlafaxine.

Adverse Effects [top]

Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • signs of tardive dyskinesia: lip smacking, chewing movements, puffing of cheeks, rapid, darting tongue movements, uncontrolled movements of arms or legs
  • signs of parkinsonism: difficulty speaking or swallowing, loss of balance, masklike face, muscle spasms, stiffness of arms or legs, trembling and shaking, unusual twisting movements of body, shuffling walk
  • arms or legs stiff
  • blood pressure increased
  • chills
  • dizziness or fainting
  • eyes unable to move
  • fever
  • headache that is severe or continued
  • heartbeat that is fast or irregular
  • legs aching, uncomfortable, or sensation of crawling
  • muscle spasms of face, neck, and back
  • nervousness, restlessness, or irritability
  • paniclike sensation
  • speaking or swallowing difficulty
  • throat sore
  • tiredness or weakness
  • trembling and shaking of hands and fingers
  • twisting movements of body
  • twitching movements

Call your doctor if these symptoms continue:

  • breast milk flow increased
  • breast tenderness and swelling
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • depression
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • irritability
  • menstruation changes
  • mouth dry
  • nausea
  • restlessness
  • skin rash
  • sleeping difficulty
  • tiredness or weakness that is unusual

Signs of overdose:

  • confusion
  • drowsiness that is severe
  • hands shaking, trembling
  • muscle spasms
  • seizures
  • ticlike, jerky movements of head and face

If you suspect an overdose, call this number to contact your poison control center: (800) 222-1222.

last reviewed March 31, 2021