What are the side-effects of Metoclopramide?
Although Metoclopramide is generally well-tolerated when taken in low doses over a short period, it may trigger certain side-effects in long-term users or those who ingest it in high doses.
The most common side-effect of Metoclopramide is drowsiness, affecting more than 1 in 10 users, and should not be a cause for concern.
Other common side-effects include (affecting up to 1 in 10 people):
- Uncontrollable movements
- Low blood pressure
- Feeling weak
Uncommon side-effects include (affecting up to 1 in 100 people):
- Increased production of prolactin (a hormone produced in the brain), which may cause milk production in both men and non-nursing women.
- Irregular periods
- Decreased levels of consciousness
- Slowed heartbeat
Metoclopramide, in extremely rare cases, may cause a serious condition known as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS). Seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms including:
- Muscle stiffness
- Severe confusion
- Fast/irregular heartbeat
Always inform your doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen, including any that are not listed above.
Prior to taking Metoclopramide, you must inform your doctor of your full medical history, including:
- Allergies to any of the active or inactive ingredients in Metoclopramide, or any other medication
- A history of abnormal heartbeats or a heart condition known as “long QT syndrome”
- Kidney or liver problems
- Neurological (brain) disorders
- Low levels of salt in the blood
- Intolerance to sugars such as lactose
Treatment with Metoclopramide may cause a condition known as tardive dyskinesia, a disease that triggers abnormal and uncontrollable muscle movements in the face and body, and is often irreversible – even if the drug is stopped. Patients who take the medication in high doses and over prolonged periods are at a greater risk of developing this condition, as are children and older adults. Discontinue usage and call your doctor immediately if you experience any involuntary body movements such as sticking out of the tongue, puffing cheeks, lip smacking or chewing.
As Metoclopramide may cause dizziness and/or drowsiness in some users, it is advised not to drive, operate heavy tools or machinery, or engage in any activities that require alertness until the effects have completely worn off.
Consuming alcohol during treatment with Metoclopramide may increase the drugs sedative effects. It is therefore advisable to avoid alcohol intake when taking Metoclopramide.
For women who are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, it is important to always seek your doctor’s advice prior to taking Metoclopramide. Although the medication has no known effects on the developing foetus, it should only be taken if considered essential.
Metoclopramide is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding as the drug passes into breast milk in small amounts and may have an effect on the baby.
Metoclopramide is not recommended for those who have, or have previously had:
- An allergic reaction to any of the active or inactive ingredients in Metoclopramide, or any other medication.
- Any type of recent surgery on the gut
- A blockage in the intestines or stomach
- Bleeding from anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract
- Breast cancer
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Parkinson’s disease
- Liver problems
- Blood disorders
- A tumor of the adrenal gland (phaeochromocytoma)
When certain drugs are taken in combination, their efficacy may be reduced, or cease completely. Certain combinations can also produce serious adverse side-effects. Before beginning treatment with Metoclopramide, you must inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, including any prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as any vitamins or herbal supplements; particularly:
- Medication for Parkinson’s disease
- Medication for stomach cramps or spasms
- Medication for heart failure
- Morphine or other drugs to treat severe pain
- Anti-psychotic drugs
- Muscle relaxants
If it is determined that treatment with Metoclopramide is not appropriate for you, consult your doctor or pharmacist about alternative medication for the symptoms of nausea and/or vomiting associated with migraines.