Reglan is a brand name for metoclopramide, a prokinetic agent commonly used to treat certain disorders in the stomach and the esophagus such as acid reflux and nausea.
The active ingredient in Reglan is metoclopramide, which is a prokinetic agent, so called because it can improve the muscle contractions in the upper digestive tract, thus helping food move through better. Metoclopramide is mainly prescribed to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and people with diabetes who have trouble emptying the stomach (a condition medically known as gastroparesis). Metoclopramide can relieve symptoms associated with these diseases such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, feeling full for a prolonged period and heartburn.
Metoclopramide is also sometimes prescribed to treat slowed stomach problems in patients who are recovering from surgery. The antiemetic properties of metoclopramide also help to relieve vomiting and nausea in cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy.
Metoclopramide is listed as an “essential medicine” necessary in a basic health care system by the Word Health Organization (WHO). Metoclopramide is also one of the most prescribed medications in the United States.
Reglan is not approved for use in children under a year as the drug can cause serious muscle contraction problems.
Reglan is available as 5 mg or 10 mg oral tablets. Inactive ingredients in tablets include corn starch, stearic acid, lactose, silicon dioxide and microcrystalline cellulose.
Several factors will cause variations in Reglan dosage, such as the medical condition being treated, severity of the condition, response to treatment, and other diseases being treated at the same time, physician recommendation, age and possibly weight.
Reglan tablets should be taken 4 times a day, 30 minutes before meals and bedtime. For certain medical conditions, Reglan could be prescribed in less frequent doses.
It’s important to take Reglan exactly as prescribed. Taking more than the prescribed dosage could lead to serious muscle contraction problems in the digestive tract. Follow physician instructions precisely for the drug to be effective.
Effectiveness of Reglan might not be noticeable immediately for certain conditions, especially for the slow stomach emptying syndrome. However, doses should be followed as prescribed even if the drug doesn’t “feel” effective.
Warnings and Precautions
Do not take Reglan if allergic to metoclopramide or similar drugs.
Higher doses or prolonged use of metoclopramide is known to cause a serious and irreversible disease known as tardive dyskinesia. It’s marked by uncontrollable muscle movements. There is no known cure for the disease. Therefore, Reglan should not be taken regularly for more than 12 weeks. Prolonged use may also cause withdrawal symptoms.
Reglan is not safe for patients who are pregnant, attempting to get pregnant or are breastfeeding.
Regland may not be safe for use in patients with the following conditions: congestive heart failure, seizures, kidney or liver disease, kidney tumors, Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure, history of depression, diabetes and blockages, bleeding or tears in the stomach or intestines.
Common side effects of Reglan include the following:
Trouble urinating or too much urination
Breast enlargement or discharge
Missing menstrual period
Side effects are not limited to the above. Some side effects may be serious than others and could indicate tardive dyskinesia. Immediately call a doctor if severe side effects are experienced.