Reglan Side Effects FAQs
Q: What is Reglan?
Reglan (Metoclopramide) is a prescription drug for treating various digestive disorders. First developed as an antipsychotic in the 1960s, today it is mostly used to treat nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and similar conditions. Recent patient concerns over several Reglan side effects have fueled medical reviews, government warnings, and consumer lawsuits.
Q: Who takes Reglan?
Doctors prescribe Reglan to treat a number of ailments. It can prove useful in treating nausea and vomiting, heartburn, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and esophageal ulcers. Surgeons rely on it to treat patient nausea following surgery. Metoclopramide can also speed a patient's digestive process.
Reglan is commonly used to treat diabetes patients. Diabetics can develop a condition known as gastroparesis, where muscle failure slows the pace at which the stomach empties after eating. This can cause elevated blood sugar levels, the main concern of diabetes. Reglan can help diabetes patients maintain a healthy blood sugar level by treating Gastroparesis.
Q: What are some Reglan side effects?
All drugs have unintended side effects. These can vary from person to person, so most prescription drugs have a fairly lengthy list of side effects. Reglan's most serious concerns surround its association with a number of different involuntary movement conditions. These include:
- Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) - Patients may impulsively smack their lips, pucker their mouth, frown, stick out their tongue, blink, move their eyes, and shake their arms and legs. TD can be irreversible.
- Parkinsonism - Patients may experience slow movement, speech impairment, and muscle stiffness. Parkinsonism can resemble Parkinson's Disease, but is often reversible.
- Other movement disorders - Patients experience other involuntary movements. These can come in many forms, from shaking to stiffness, affecting anything from the muscles to the eyes.
There are other notable Reglan side effects. Many relate to digestion. Patients should see a doctor if they experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, dryness of the mouth, or a loss of appetite. Reglan's origins as an antipsychotic drug can also cause neurological side effects. Patients who experience an unusual heartbeat, sweating, agitation, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, or muscle stiffness should seek immediate medical assistance.
Other side effects suppress sexual activity and alter sexual development. A growing number of male patients report developing gynecomastia. Female patients can miss menstrual periods.
Q: What do doctors say about Reglan?
Medical research has fueled concern over Reglan. Back in 1993, a study found that patients taking Metoclopramide faced an increased risk of developing TD and Parkinsonism. Patients who took Metoclopramide for more than twelve weeks were found to be 67% more likely to develop TD and four times more likely to develop Parkinsonism. This and other studies are responsible for the current twelve week recommended limit on the use of Reglan.
Many doctors continue to prescribe Reglan despite the risks. It is the only approved drug for treating Gastroparesis. Patients who need medication to treat this condition (and many diabetics do) have few alternatives. Limiting Reglan treatment to twelve weeks and to patients who need it can help reduce side effects.
Q: What does the FDA say about Reglan?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned doctors and the pubic about Reglan. The result is the recommended twelve-week limit on using the drug. Since February 2009, Reglan carries a "black box" warning on the risk of patients developing TD. This came after studies found that patients who took Metoclopramide for more than twelve weeks faced a high risk of TD and Parkinsonism. Some estimate that as many as 15% of patients who take Metoclopramide develop TD.
Q: How can I learn more about Reglan side effects?
Speak with your doctor if you take Reglan. If you or someone you know has suffered health problems after taking the drug, consider speaking with an attorney.