Reglan - Warnings Metoclopramide Hydrochloride

The FDA requires all potential medication risks for REGLAN (metoclopramide hydrochloride tablet) be disclosed to consumers, no matter how rare. Here are the warnings and precautions for Reglan.

Warnings & Precautions

  • Reglan can cause tardive dyskinesia (TD), a serious movement disorder that is often irreversible. There is no known treatment for TD. The risk of developing TD increases with duration of treatment and total cumulative dosage [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
  • Discontinue Reglan in patients who develop signs or symptoms of TD. In some patients, symptoms may lessen or resolve after Reglan is stopped [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
  • Avoid treatment with Reglan for longer than 12 weeks because of the increased risk of developing TD with longer-term use [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1) and Dosage and Administration ( 2.2 , 2.3 )].

Warnings & Precautions

tardive dyskinesia

Metoclopramide can cause tardive dyskinesia (TD), a syndrome of potentially irreversible and disfiguring involuntary movements of the face or tongue, and sometimes of the trunk and/or extremities. Movements may be choreoathetotic in appearance. The risk of developing TD and the likelihood that TD will become irreversible increases with duration of treatment and total cumulative dosage. Additionally, the risk of developing TD is increased among the elderly, especially elderly women [see Use in Specific Populations (8.5)], and in patients with diabetes mellitus. Due to the risk of developing TD, avoid treatment with Reglan for longer than 12 weeks and reduce the dosage in elderly patients [see Dosage and Administration (2.2, 2.3)].

Discontinue Reglan immediately in patients who develop signs and symptoms of TD. There is no known effective treatment for established cases of TD, although in some patients TD may remit, partially or completely, within several weeks to months after Reglan is withdrawn.

Reglan itself may suppress, or partially suppress, the signs of TD, thereby masking the underlying disease process. The effect of this symptomatic suppression upon the long-term course of TD is unknown. Reglan is contraindicated in patients with a history of TD [see Contraindications (4)]. Avoid Reglan in patients receiving other drugs that are likely to cause TD (e.g., antipsychotics).

other extrapyramidal symptoms

In addition to TD, metoclopramide may cause other extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), parkinsonian symptoms, and motor restlessness. Advise patients to seek immediate medical attention if such symptoms occur and to discontinue Reglan.

  • Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), such as acute dystonic reactions, occurred in patients treated with metoclopramide dosages of 30 mg to 40 mg daily. Such reactions occurred more frequently in adults less than 30 years of age and at higher than recommended dosages. EPS occurred more frequently in pediatric patients compared to adults (Reglan is not approved for use in pediatric patients). Symptoms can occur in the first 24 to 48 hours after starting metoclopramide. Symptoms included involuntary movements of limbs and facial grimacing, torticollis, oculogyric crisis, rhythmic protrusion of tongue, bulbar type of speech, trismus, or dystonic reactions resembling tetanus. Rarely, dystonic reactions were present as stridor and dyspnea, possibly due to laryngospasm. Diphenhydramine hydrochloride or benztropine mesylate may be used to treat these adverse reactions. Avoid Reglan in patients receiving other drugs that can cause EPS (e.g., antipsychotics).
  • Parkinsonian symptoms (bradykinesia, tremor, cogwheel rigidity, mask-like facies) have occurred after starting metoclopramide, more commonly within the first 6 months, but also after longer periods. Symptoms generally have subsided within 2 to 3 months after discontinuation of Reglan. Avoid Reglan in patients with Parkinson’s disease and other patients being treated with antiparkinsonian drugs due to potential exacerbation of symptoms. Avoid treatment with Reglan for more than 12 weeks [see Dosage and Administration (2.2, 2.3), Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
  • Motor restlessness (akathisia) has developed and consisted of feelings of anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, and insomnia, as well as inability to sit still, pacing, and foot tapping. If symptoms resolve, consider restarting at a lower dosage.

neuroleptic malignant syndrome

Metoclopramide may cause a potentially fatal symptom complex called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). NMS has been reported in association with metoclopramide overdosage and concomitant treatment with another drug associated with NMS. Avoid Reglan in patients receiving other drugs associated with NMS, including typical and atypical antipsychotics.

Clinical manifestations of NMS include hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and manifestations of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac arrhythmias). Additional signs may include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis), and acute renal failure. Patients with such symptoms should be evaluated immediately.

In the diagnostic evaluation, consider the presence of other serious medical conditions (e.g., pneumonia, systemic infection) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms. Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, malignant hyperthermia, drug fever, serotonin syndrome, and primary central nervous system pathology.

Management of NMS includes:

  • Immediate discontinuation of Reglan and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy [see Drug Interactions (7.1)].
  • Intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring.
  • Treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available.


Depression has occurred in metoclopramide-treated patients with and without a history of depression. Symptoms have included suicidal ideation and suicide. Avoid Reglan use in patients with a history of depression.


Metoclopramide may elevate blood pressure. In one study in hypertensive patients, intravenously administered metoclopramide was shown to release catecholamines; hence, avoid use in patients with hypertension or in patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors [see Drug Interactions (7.1)].

There are also clinical reports of hypertensive crises in patients with undiagnosed pheochromocytoma. Reglan is contraindicated in patients with pheochromocytoma or other catecholamine-releasing paragangliomas [see Contraindications (4)]. Discontinue Reglan in any patient with a rapid rise in blood pressure.

fluid retention

Because Reglan produces a transient increase in plasma aldosterone, patients with cirrhosis or congestive heart failure may be at risk of developing fluid retention and volume overload. Discontinue Reglan if any of these adverse reactions occur.


As with other dopamine D2 receptor antagonists, metoclopramide elevates prolactin levels.

Hyperprolactinemia may suppress hypothalamic GnRH, resulting in reduced pituitary gonadotropin secretion. This, in turn, may inhibit reproductive function by impairing gonadal steroidogenesis in both female and male patients. Galactorrhea, amenorrhea, gynecomastia, and impotence have been reported with prolactin-elevating drugs, including metoclopramide.

Hyperprolactinemia may potentially stimulate prolactin-dependent breast cancer. However, some clinical studies and epidemiology studies have not shown an association between administration of dopamine D2 receptor antagonists and tumorigenesis in humans [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)].

effects on the ability to drive & operate machinery

Metoclopramide may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of hazardous tasks such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle. Concomitant use of central nervous system (CNS) depressants or drugs associated with EPS may increase this effect (e.g., alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics, opiates, and anxiolytics). Avoid Reglan or the interacting drug, depending on the importance of the drug to the patient [see Drug Interactions (7.1)].

This drug label information is as submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is intended for informational purposes only. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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