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Reglan Side Effects and Health Problems

Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Car accident, personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney serving Staten Island and Brooklyn New York.

Reglan LawsuitIn early 2009 the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring Reglan to have a black box warning due to the dangerous side effects associated with Reglan.


What is Reglan and Why Was it Black Boxed?

Reglan is a prescription drug that is also known by the name motoclopramide.  Reglan is used to treat gastrointestinal disorders (GERD), heartburn, morning sickness and other causes for nausea.

Reglan was black boxed in early 2009 due to dangerous health problems that were occurring from people taking Reglan. One of the most prevalent reasons why it was black boxed was because chronic use of Reglan is linked to Tardive Dyskinesia.
Reglan Side Effects and Health Problems
Tardive Dyskinesia Caused by Reglan
Tardive Dyskinesia is a nervous system disorder that causes involuntary repetitive movements of the body that may become permanent.

Tardive Dyskinesia has been linked to long term usage of Reglan. The FDA has approved Reglan for short term use (4 to 12 weeks) but many people who require a Reglan prescription are directed to take the drug for longer spans of time, in fact, 30 percent of people who are prescribed Reglan are instructed to take it for 12 months or longer. In cases where long term use of Reglan is required the risk of Tardive Dyskinesia increases.

Tardive Dyskinesia does not have a cure and can range from being temporary to being something more permanent that lasts throughout the remainder of a persons life.

Common symptoms of Tardive Dyskinesia from Reglan are:
  • Grimacing
  • Lip smacking
  • Tongue protrusion
  • Lip puckering
  • Lip pursing
  • Rapid eye blinking
  • Rapid movements of the arms
  • Rapid movements of the legs
  • Impaired movements of the fingers (may appear as if playing a piano or a guitar)
  • Swaying of the trunk
  • Swaying of the hips
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) caused by Reglan
There are many short term side effects caused by Reglan that are mild but one of the more dangerous side effects cause by Reglan in a short term span is Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) which often results in death. Symptoms of NMS caused by Reglan usually occur within the first 2 weeks of taking Reglan. Symptoms of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome include:
  • High fever
  • Sweating
  • Stupor
  • Unstable blood pressure
  • Muscular rigidity
  • Autonomic dysfunction
Depression caused by Reglan and Suicide because of Reglan
Aside from the warnings and precautions that Reglan has about NMS and Tardive Dyskinesia Reglan also carries warnings about depression.  Depression caused by Reglan can range from mild to severe. In severe cases of depression caused by Reglan a person may deal with suicidal thoughts and may attempt to commit suicide.