Reglan acts in the upper end of the digestive system and works by speeding up the movement of the stomach muscles, thus increasing the rate at which the stomach empties into the intestines. It is used as a short-term treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease in patients who have not responded to other therapies, and to treat diabetic gastroparesis (slowed emptying of the stomach’s contents into the intestines). It is recommended that treatment not exceed twelve weeks, however it is estimated that around thirty percent of patients who are prescribed products containing metoclopramide take the medication for a much longer period of time.
Serious side effects and health problems may develop after taking Reglan, including:
- agranulocytosis, a condition characterized by low levels of white blood cells, which can result in osteoporosis
- aldosteronism, a condition in which the adrenal glands produce excessive hormones and cause low blood-potassium levels, which can result in heart attack, heart failure, stroke or kidney failure
- cervical dystonia (torticollis)
- face grimacing or facial tics
- lip smacking, pursing and puckering
- parkinsons symptoms
- rapid eye movements or blinking
- restless leg syndrome (RLS)
- tachycardia or increased heart rate
- tardive dyskinesia, characterized by involuntary, repetitive writhing movements affecting the face, trunk and/or limbs
- tongue protrusion
Metoclopramide is available in a variety of forms including tablets, syrups and injections. Names of metoclopramide-containing products include Reglan Tablets, Reglan Oral Disintegrating Tablets, Metoclopramide Oral Solution, and Reglan Injection. More than two million Americans use these products.
Recently published studies suggest that metoclopramide is the most common cause of drug-induced movement disorders. Another analysis of study data by the FDA showed that about 20 percent of patients in that study who used metoclopramide took it for longer than three months. The FDA has also become aware of continued spontaneous reports of tardive dyskinesia in patients who used metoclopramide, the majority of whom had taken the drug for more than three months.
Tardive Dyskinesia symptoms exist not only in physical movements but there are also psychosocial and physical impairments caused as a result. There may be feelings of embarrassment and guilt, shame, depression, and social withdrawal that Tardive Dyskinesia patients will experience. Personal relationships and professional involvements can become difficult to maintain due to the Tardive Dyskinesia movements that can be observed as abnormal, having an emotionally negative impact on the Tardive Dyskinesia patient.
Physically, Tardive Dyskinesia can create other problems that make it even more difficult to manage living with the Tardive Dyskinesia. Denture problems, tongue ulcerations, and difficulty swallowing can often occur alongside Tardive Dyskinesia. There are also instances of dysarthria, respiratory disturbances, gastrointestinal disturbances, motor function difficulty, fixed postures, and the possibility of increased mortality.
Treatment and Lawsuits
If a patient develops Reglan effects, it is important that he or she seek immediate medical attention to prevent further health complications, work with a doctor to find alternative treatment, and contact a Reglan lawyer to determine if there is a viable legal claim against the manufacturer of the drug.
By contacting a Reglan lawyer and pursuing a Reglan lawsuit, an injured party may be able to receive compensation for:
- past medical bills
- lost wages
- future medical expenses
- future cost of living expenses
- pain and suffering