Reglan Side Effects

by on March 15, 2012


Reglan is a brand named medication used for treating heart burn, but it also has a variety of potential side effects. Some of these side effects are common, like nausea, fatigue, and drowsiness, while more serious side effects can also be experienced.   Reglan also has been known to cause a condition called Tardive dyskinesia (TD) which may be permanent. There is a greater risk of developing TD when Reglan (metoclopramide) is used in high doses and/or for longer than 3 months.  Although these side effects are rare, it is important that patients discuss their concerns along with other medical conditions they have or medications that they are taking with their health care provider.

Common Reglan Side Effects

Common Reglan side effects may occur when taking this medication, but they are typically not a cause for concern unless they persist or worsen. These common side effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Restlessness

Serious Reglan Side Effects

Reglan Side EffectsSome of the most frequently experienced serious side effects of Reglan are due to an allergic reaction to metoclopramide. If this occurs, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Some of the most common serious side effects include:

  • Rash
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the tongue, lips, face, and mouth
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing

Other severe side effects that are not related to an allergic reaction may also occur, and when they do, patients should seek medical treatment immediately. They include:

  • Abnormal thinking
  • Dark urine
  • Decreased sexual ability
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood or mental changes
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Seizures
  • Sudden increased sweating
  • Unusual weight gain
  • Uncontrolled movements or spasms
  • Suicidal actions or thoughts
  • Vision changes
  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin

Reglan and Other Medical Conditions

Patients that have certain medical conditions are not recommended to take Reglan. This is especially true if the patient has any of the following:

  • A tumor of the adrenal gland
  • Seizure disorder or epilepsy
  • Blockage or bleeding in the intestines of stomach
  • A hole in the intestines or stomach

Additionally, patients should discuss the following medical conditions with their doctor. This will help to determine whether a patient can take Reglan safely. They include:

  • Liver disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • High blood pressure
  • A history of depression

Reglan During Pregnancy and Breast Feeding

Reglan and metroclopramide are only recommended for use in pregnant women when the benefit outweighs the risk, as this medication rapidly crosses the placenta near term. This drug has been assigned to a pregnancy category B by the Food and Drug Administration, and although animal studies have shown no evidence of fetal harm, there are no controlled data in human pregnancy. It is recommended that nursing mothers use caution with when taking this drug, as it is excreted into human milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics also considers it to be a cause of concern, especially because of the potent effects on the nervous system it can cause.


Alcohol may worsen some of the pharmacological effects of CNS-active agents, and using Reglan in combination with alcohol can create additional depression of the nervous system as well as impairment of psychomotor skills, thinking, and judgment. Patients receiving Reglan may be warned about these interactions and will be told to limit or avoid consumption of alcohol. Hazardous activities that require motor coordination or mental alertness should be avoided until patients understand how the medication will affect them.

In most cases, Reglan is successful in treating conditions of the stomach and intestines, and it can help to relieve symptoms of heart burn. However, in some rare cases serious side effects can occur, and these are more common if a person has a certain medical condition or is taking a certain medication that interacts improperly with Reglan. Patients should be sure to seek medical advice before taking this medication and will want to report any side effects they experience to their doctor or pharmacist.