Reglan is one of three brands of metoclopramide, a medication given mainly for gastroparesis and extreme acid reflux. Reglan is a powerful drug and should only be taken by those who truly need it. Reglan can cause severe side effects, including tardive dyskinesia and depression. Some people should never take Reglan.
People who should not take Reglan
Reglan is used for gastroparesis (slow or no stomach contractions) because it increases stomach contractions, improving digestion and appetite. Because of the increased stomach contractions the medicine can be dangerous for people with bowel obstructions, perforations, and/or stomach hemorrhaging. People with these conditions should never take Reglan or any other medicine containing metoclopramide.
Reglan should never be taken by people with a history of epilepsy. Reglan can make epileptic seizures more severe and increase the likelihood of their occurrence.
People taking other medications which can cause tardive dyskinesia or similar movement disorders involving involuntary movements, grimaces, and trembling, should not take Reglan. Taking two medicines which can cause tardive dyskinesia or other similar side effects increases the risk of developing a movement disorder.
People with pheochromocytoma should not take metoclopramide. Pheochromocytoma is a benign tumor of the adrenal gland which causes high blood pressure. People with this condition risk dangerously high blood pressure if they take Reglan.
People prone to depression or suicidal thoughts should not take Reglan, because it can cause depression.
Reglan should not be given to children or teenagers.
People who should take Reglan with Caution
People with Parkinson’s disease should not be prescribed Reglan unless the benefits of taking the medicine outweigh the risks. Reglan is sometimes given to prevent aspiration pneumonia; patients with advanced Parkinson’s may be at risk for aspiration pneumonia and many doctors would argue that the benefits of Reglan in preventing this deadly pneumonia outweigh the risks of developing tardive dyskinesia.
Similar precautions apply to people with congestive heart failure and/or high blood pressure. Taking Reglan can make both conditions worse because the medication can cause fluid build-up, but in some instances a doctor may believe that the benefits of Reglan outweigh the risks.
People with cirrhosis—a disease of the liver, should also not take Reglan unless the benefits outweigh the risks. The fluid build-up which can be caused by Reglan makes the medication risky for people with cirrhosis.