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Metoclopramide

Metoclopramide is a treatment taken to reduce feelings of nausea. The drug may be used in response to symptoms that occur due to post-operative or chemotherapy-induced nausea, gastroesophageal reflux disease or gastroparesis. This treatment belongs to a group of medicines known as antiemetics.

Last PIL Review Date: 24/01/2020

See Metoclopramide Tablets Patient Information Leaflet

This medicine is not available to request via our online service. If you are still having trouble with your symptoms please visit the NHS website for services in your area.


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Dr. Diana Gall GMC No. 7685129

Dr Diana Gall graduated from medical school in 2005 and has since undertaken further intensive training in many different areas of medicine. Dr Diana has reached consultant level and has practiced medicine all over Europe.

Shamir Patel GPHC No. 2049338

Shamir is a well-respected pharmacist with extensive experience running online pharmacies in the UK.

What is Metoclopramide?

Metoclopramide tablets are used to reduce symptoms of nausea. Taken on a daily basis, this medication reduces feelings of sickness by interfering with certain signals in the body which can be ultimately responsible for creating nausea. Metoclopramide may be taken alongside painkillers if treating symptoms of nausea caused by a migraine.

How does Metoclopramide work?

This drug targets signals which are passed through the body by the chemoreceptor trigger zone, or CTZ for short. Feelings of sickness that potentially lead to vomiting can be caused for numerous reasons, such as an impending migraine or as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. A disturbance in the gut is another potential cause. Such a disturbance could be caused by a long-term condition like gastroparesis, where the stomach can’t empty itself in the normal way.

Whatever the exact cause, nausea and vomiting occurs when an irritated part of the body sends signals to the CTZ. These signals, possibly combined with the presence of medicinal chemicals in the blood or inflammatory substances released by the brain during a migraine, can lead the CTZ to activate the vomiting centre in the brain. When using Metoclopramide, the messages from the CTZ are interrupted so it does not encourage the vomiting centre to cause feelings of sickness and spasms in the gut.

How do I take Metoclopramide?

The recommended dosage for this medication is to take one tablet on three occasions daily. The maximum suggested period for taking these tablets is five days consecutively. These tablets are deemed ok for children/adolescents to take unless they are below 12 months old or weigh less than 61kg (about 134lbs or 9 stone and 8 pounds). If you are elderly or have liver problems, then you may possibly be prescribed a lower dosage than usual.

You should wait at least six hours between each dose of this medicine, even if vomiting and rejection of a dose occurs, since an overdose could still occur. The tablets have a score line which is there to help break them if you have difficulty swallowing them whole. Avoid having alcohol during treatment with Metoclopramide otherwise it will increase the sedative effect of the tablets.

What are the side effects of Metoclopramide?

The most common side effect reported by those that have taken this medication is feelings of drowsiness. Other side effects which have been reported nearly as often include the following:

  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Blood pressure decrease
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling weak
  • Depression
  • Uncontrollable movements such as tics, shaking or twisting movements

Some other side effects are possible but are also much rarer, and you may never experience any side effects at all while using this medication. Some of the rare side effects can be very serious, so you should stop taking this medication and seek medical help if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe uncontrollable movements, around the head or neck in particular
  • High fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Convulsions
  • Sweating
  • Increased production of saliva
  • Itching or skin rashes
  • Swelling of the face, lips or throat

Can I use Metoclopramide?

Before you start using these tablets, you may need a blood test to be performed on you by your doctor. You should check that you don’t have any medical conditions that could create any complications. Avoid using Metoclopramide if any of these health conditions apply to you:

  • You have bleeding, obstruction or a tear in your stomach or gut
  • You have or may have a rare tumour of the adrenal gland, located near the kidney
  • You have experienced involuntary muscles spasms when being treated with a medicine in the past
  • You have epilepsy
  • You have Parkinson’s disease
  • You have or have ever had abnormal blood pigment levels or NADH cytochromeb5 Deficiency

If you are taking other medicines (or have recently used any) then you should let your doctor or pharmacist know about these as some can be affected by Metoclopramide or vice versa. These medicines listed can cause issues when mixed with this particular treatment:

  • Anticholinergics used to treat stomach cramps or spasms
  • Morphine derivatives
  • Sedative medicines
  • Medicines that treat Parkinson’s disease (such as Levodopa)
  • Medicines that treat mental health problems
  • Digoxin (used to treat heart failure)
  • Ciclosporin (used to treat certain problems with the immune system)
  • Mivacurium and Suxamethonium (used to relax muscles)
  • Fluoxetine and Paroxetine (used to treat depression)

What if I take too much Metoclopramide?

If you take more of this medication than you should, you should contact your doctor or pharmacist right away. You may experience a variety of symptoms including uncontrollable movements, drowsiness, hallucinations or even issues with your consciousness and heart. Your doctor may prescribe you a treatment for these symptoms if necessary.

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