Metoclopramide is the generic name of a drug sold with trade names of Reglan, Octamide and Maxolon. It is prescribed for people suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). When stomach contents move upwards into the esophagus they damage it with their acidity, causing heartburn.
Metoclopramide works by:
- Strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter muscle which normally prevents stomach contents from entering the esophagus
- Stimulating the stomach muscles to speed movement of food into the intestines
In doing this it also reduces nausea. It was approved by the FDA in 1985 and over two million Americans have been using it. Although it is recommended that you not take metoclopramide for more than three months, many people have taken it for much longer.
Risk of Repetitive Involuntary Movements
The FDA’s Black Box is the strongest warning they require. Many reports have been made of people suffering from involuntary movements after taking metoclopramide, even long after they stopped taking it. These movements are known as tardive dyskinesia and may consist of:
- Smacking the lips
- Rapid eye blinking
- Tongue protrusion
- Finger movements
- Jerking of the arms or legs
There is so far no way to treat tardive dyskinesia once it has started. In some people it fades after they discontinue use of metoclopramide but in many it remains. Its occurrence is directly related to how long a person has been taking the drug, and in how large a dose.
The FDA is still receiving reports of tardive dyskinesia in people who have been taking metoclopramide.
All drugs have side effects. The manufacturer’s task is to make them as insignificant as possible and make them known to medical professionals and their patients. The Black Box warning is a danger signal to ensure that doctors will exercise caution in who they prescribe the medication for, and that they will advise their patients of the risk.
If you have been harmed by a prescription medication and are wondering if you might have a valid legal claim, please contact our defective drug attorneys today for a free case evaluation.