Metoclopramide is utilized to address specific conditions in the digestive tract. It is employed as a short-term solution (typically 4 to 12 weeks) to address persistent heartburn that is not adequately controlled with standard medications. This medication is especially effective in mitigating heartburn that occurs after a meal or during the daytime. By managing persistent heartburn, metoclopramide can lessen the detrimental effects of stomach acid on the esophagus and promote the healing process.
Metoclopramide is also beneficial for individuals with gastroparesis, a condition in which diabetic patients have inadequate stomach emptying. By alleviating symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal fullness, treating gastroparesis can enhance a patient’s quality of life. Metoclopramide functions by inhibiting dopamine, a natural substance. This action results in the acceleration of stomach emptying and promotes movement within the upper intestine.
Uses and Dosage
Metoclopramide is available in three forms – a tablet, orally disintegrating tablet, and liquid solution that can be taken orally. Typically, it is taken four times daily, on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before meals and at bedtime.
If metoclopramide is used to manage symptoms of GERD, it may be taken less frequently, particularly if symptoms only occur at certain times of the day. Take metoclopramide as directed by your physician, and do not exceed the recommended dose.
If you are taking the orally disintegrating tablet, ensure that your hands are dry before removing the tablet from its package. If the tablet crumbles or breaks, discard it and use a new one. Place the tablet gently on your tongue, where it will dissolve in about one minute, and then swallow it with saliva.
If metoclopramide is prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of slow stomach emptying associated with diabetes, your symptoms will not improve instantaneously. Your nausea may improve in the initial stages of treatment and continue to do so over the next three weeks. While vomiting and loss of appetite may also improve early in treatment, it may take more time for the sensation of fullness to disappear.
Continue taking metoclopramide even if you feel better. Do not stop taking it without consulting your physician, as withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, nervousness, and headaches may occur.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- excessive tiredness
- breast enlargement or discharge
- missed menstrual period
- decreased sexual ability
- frequent urination
- inability to control urination
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- tightening of the muscles, especially in the jaw or neck
- speech problems
- thinking about harming or killing yourself
- muscle stiffness
- fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- nervousness or jitteriness
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- foot tapping
- slow or stiff movements
- blank facial expression
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- difficulty keeping your balance
- swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, mouth, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- sudden weight gain
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- high-pitched sounds while breathing
- vision problems
Before taking metoclopramide, inform your doctor or pharmacist of any allergies you may have or if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Inactive ingredients in this product may cause allergic reactions or other issues.
Your medical history, especially any history of movement/muscle disorders caused by medication, bleeding/blockage/hole in the stomach or intestines, breast cancer, high blood pressure, kidney problems, heart failure, mental/mood problems, Parkinson’s disease, liver problems, pheochromocytoma, seizures, or a certain blood enzyme problem should also be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist before taking this medication.
Metoclopramide may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Avoid activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, until you can do them safely. Alcohol or marijuana can intensify these effects.
Liquid forms of this medication may contain alcohol, so use caution if you have diabetes, liver disease, or alcohol dependence, and discuss the safe use of this product with your doctor or pharmacist.
If you have diabetes, this medication may make it harder to control your blood sugar levels. Monitor your blood sugar regularly, and inform your doctor if you have high or low blood sugar. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
Children may be more susceptible to side effects, such as muscle spasms or uncontrolled muscle movements, and older adults may be more sensitive to drowsiness, tardive dyskinesia, and Parkinson’s-type muscle problems, which can increase the risk of falling.
If you are pregnant, this medication should be used only when necessary, and its benefits should be weighed against the risks. Consult your doctor about the possible risks and benefits of taking this medication during pregnancy.
This medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Reglan is available in the following forms and strengths:
metoclopramide scored tablet:
How long can you safely take Reglan?
Reglan should be taken for only 4 to 12 weeks.
Does Reglan make you gain weight?
While the side effects of using Reglan can vary between individuals, it is possible to experience unexpected weight gain after using Reglan for a period of time.