Metoclopramide

Metoclopramide

Metoclopramide is a prescription only drug that comes in both branded and non-branded forms. It is available in a range of different forms, including tablets, capsules, and an oral solution. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

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Patient Leaflet(s)

Metoclopramide is a kind of anti-emetic medication that helps to reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting in certain conditions. The active ingredient in this drug influences the way that the vomiting center of the brain works, impacting the reactions of the stomach.  

What is Metoclopramide? 

Metoclopramide is a prescription only drug that comes in both branded and non-branded forms. It is available in a range of different forms, including tablets, capsules, and an oral solution. In rare cases, Metoclopramide may be given in an intravenous form, though this will only be possible in hospital situations.  

Metoclopramide is a medication that belongs to a group of drugs called prokinetics and anti-emetics. Basically, these drugs are designed to reduce your risk of vomiting and nausea, as well as helping you to empty the contents of your stomach when necessary to reduce acid. These drugs work by emptying the contents of your stomach through your intestines, speeding up muscle contractions. At the same time, the tightness of your lower esophageal sphincter is increased, which means that stomach acid cannot flow back into the esophagus. 

Metoclopramide prevents nausea and vomiting also by blocking the receptors in the human body that often cause nausea and vomiting.  

When is Metoclopramide used? 

Metoclopramide can be used to treat a range of conditions associated with the intestines and stomach. The medication is often a short-term treatment option for heartburn when other medicines don’t’ work properly. It is usually used for heartburn instances that occur during the day or after a meal. Treating persistent acid reflux can reduce the amount of damage done to the esophagus by stomach acid.  

Metoclopramide can also be used in patients with diabetes who usually have problems emptying their stomach. Treating this condition can help to reduce symptoms of vomiting and nausea, and reduce abdominal fullness. Metoclopramide works by blocking dopamine in the body and speeding the movement of the upper intestines.  

You should not usually give this medication to children because the risk of muscle spasms and other side effects will often be greater.  

How do you use Metoclopramide? 

Metoclopramide comes with a patient leaflet that you should read carefully before you begin your treatment. You need to speak to a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions on how to take this substance. Take the medication by mouth up to 30 minutes before your meals and at bedtime when told to do so by your doctor. You will need to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. 

If you are taking the suspension form of this substance, you will need to measure it using the device that is provided. A household spoon will not give you the correct dose. If you are using the disintegrating tablet, then you should not remove the tablet from the packaging before you are ready to take your dose. Do not use the tablet if it is broken.  

If heartburn only occurs at certain times, then your doctor might tell you to take your dose at those times, rather than using it constantly throughout the day. This could reduce your risk of side effects. Take this medication regularly to get the best benefit from it. To help you take it consistently, it is best to use the medication at the same time each day.  

If you suddenly stop taking this medication, you might suffer from withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nervousness, and dizziness. To help stop this from happening, your doctor is likely to reduce your dose gradually.  

What dosages are there? 

Metoclopramide will be given to you in a dose that is suitable based on your medical condition. Response to treatment and your age will also be taken into account. Because of the higher risk of various side effects, it is not a good idea to take this medication more often than necessary. Treatment is usually for maximum of 5 days. 

The most common dosage of Metoclopramide is tablets of 10mg that are taken one to three times every day, after a bout of acid reflux begins. However, your treatment will depend on your condition. To treat the issue of diabetic gastroparesis, this medication may be taken for up to 8 weeks until your gut is working properly again.  

Take this medication exactly as directed to get the most benefit from it. Tell your doctor if you feel as though your conditions are persisting or getting worse when you are taking Metoclopramide.  

What are the side effects of Metoclopramide? 

Along with the effects that are intended with this drug, you may find that you occasionally suffer from unintended side effects, such as dizziness, trouble with your sleeping, headaches, or tiredness. Some people also suffer from diarrhea. There’s a good chance that these side effects will diminish on their own when your body gets used to the medication. However, you should seek help from a medical professional if you are concerned that your side effects are getting worse. 

Make sure that you speak to your doctor immediately if you have any more serious side effects when using Metoclopramide¸ including: 

  • Changes to your mood, including anxiety, depression, confusion, or thoughts of committing suicide; 
  • Issues with your sexual ability, including an inability to maintain an erection; 
  • Inability to keep still, or uncontrolled muscle movements and spasms; 
  • Parkinson-like issues, such as shaking, difficult movement, slowed movement, or a mask-like facial expression; 
  • Abnormal production of breast milk, enlarged breasts, and swelling in the hands and feet; 
  • Changes to menstruation in women.  

In rare conditions, this medication could cause an issue called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which presents with symptoms like muscle stiffness, fever, sweating, and an irregular heartbeat. Speak to a doctor immediately if you experience any of these side effects. 

A serious allergic reaction to Metoclopramide is not common. However, you should seek medical attention immediately, if you have any problems with things like swelling in the face, throat, and lips, or rash and itching.  

When shouldn’t you use Metoclopramide? 

You should not use Metoclopramide without the approval of a doctor or consultant. Before you begin taking this medication, it is important to answer any questions that your doctor or consultant might have about both your condition and your medical history. You may also be asked questions about your family history of certain ailments.  

Tell your doctor or consultant if you are allergic to this or any other medications. You should also mention any other allergies that may be aggravated by the inactive ingredients in this medication. Tell your doctor if you have any history of: 

  • Muscle disorders; 
  • Issues with blockages, bleeding, or holes in the intestine; 
  • Breast cancer; 
  • High blood pressure; 
  • Kidney problems; 
  • Mental or mood problems; 
  • Heart failure; 
  • Depression; 
  • Parkinson’s disease; 
  • Liver disease; 
  • Blood enzyme issues; 
  • Seizures; 
  • Pheochromocytoma. 

This drug can increase your chances of feeling drowsy or dizzy. Other substances like alcohol can increase your risk of this side effect. It is important to remember that the liquid version of this medication may include alcohol. Speak to your doctor if you are suffering with liver disease, alcohol dependence or diabetes.  

The disintegrating tablets of Metoclopramide can include phenylalanine. If you have an issue that causes you to need to avoid this substance in your diet, then you may need to ask your doctor to switch to a different kind of treatment. Additionally, remember that if you have diabetes, this medication can make it harder to control your blood sugar. You may be asked to check your blood sugar regularly to check for any signs of high or low blood sugar. Your doctor may also ask you to adjust your treatment plan.  

Children and older adults are likely to be more sensitive to the side effects that Metoclopramide can cause, particularly when it comes to uncontrolled muscle movements and spasms. Older adults are also more likely to experience problems like drowsiness and muscle problems. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to agree to regular checkups with your doctor to ensure that it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.  

Does Metoclopramide interact with other medications? 

Metoclopramide could interact with other medications that you already have in your system. You should always tell your doctor or consultant about any other substances that you are taking when you are about to begin using a new medication. This includes any over the counter drugs that you are using, as well as prescription medications. Make sure that your doctor or consultant is also aware of any supplements or herbal medications that you may be taking. 

Antipsychotic drugs like aripiprazole can interact negatively with Metoclopramide. Additionally, you should avoid atovaquone, and dopamine antagonists like pergolide. Do not use Fosfomycin, phenothiazines, ciclosporin, suxamethonium, SSRI antidepressants and pramlintide with Metoclopramide without approval from your doctor.  

Metoclopramide can cause medication and food to move through your stomach and intestines at a greater speed than usual. This could affect the way that other crucial drugs are absorbed. Speak to your doctor about how you should time your medication intake to ensure that you get the right treatment for any and all conditions.  

Tell your doctor or consultant if you are taking other drugs that may make you drowsy, including narcotic pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and drugs for anxiety or sleep. 

Where can you buy Metoclopramide? 

Metoclopramide is available offline or online from any reputable pharmacy. You will need to get approval from a doctor and a prescription to get this drug.  

Can I get Metoclopramide without a prescription? 

Metoclopramide is not safe to take without a prescription.  

Sources 

Drugs.com, Metoclopramide, Accessed 29th of February 2020, retrieved from: https://www.drugs.com/metoclopramide.html  

Medline online, Metoclopramide, Accessed 29th of February 2020, retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684035.html 

Mayo Clinic, Metoclopramide (Oral Route), Accessed 29th of February 2020, retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/metoclopramide-oral-route/description/drg-20064784 

Assessed by:

Dr Imran Malik, General practitioner
Registration number: GMC: 4741365

Dr Imran Malik studied undergraduate medicine at King's College University in Central London and clinical studies at the prestigious King's College Hospital. He graduated with a MBBS degree in 2000 and went on to gain postgraduate memberships with the Royal Society of Medicine and also General Practice in 2006.