Metoclopramide (Maxolon)

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Metoclopramide is used to help prevent you from feeling or being sick.

Metoclopramide may make you feel drowsy. If this happens do not drive and do not use tools or machines until you feel well again.

If you experience any unusual movements of your body, head, face or eyes, speak with your doctor or pharmacist straightaway.

To reduce the chances of you experiencing these side-effects, metoclopramide should not normally be taken for more than five days in a row.

Type of medicineAnti-emetic
Used forNausea and vomiting
Also calledMaxolon®
Available asTablets, oral liquid medicine, and injection

Metoclopramide is used to relieve feelings of sickness (nausea) or being sick (vomiting). Feeling sick can be a common symptom, but it may be due to a number of different causes. Metoclopramide is often prescribed when the sickness is associated with a surgical operation, a migraine headache, or as a result of radiotherapy or medicines for cancer. It works by helping to move the food in your stomach through your digestive system more quickly. This helps to stop you from feeling sick.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking metoclopramide it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are under 20 years old, or over 65 years old. (This is because metoclopramide can cause problems in people of these ages.)
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding. Although metoclopramide is not known to be harmful to an unborn baby, you should tell your doctor if you think you could be pregnant.
  • If you have any allergies, or have asthma.
  • If you have been told you have an irregular heart rhythm.
  • If you know you have a problem with your digestive system, such as a blockage or any internal bleeding.
  • If you have any problems with your liver or kidneys.
  • If you have epilepsy, or have Parkinson's disease.
  • If you have a tumour on your adrenal gland, called phaeochromocytoma.
  • If you have a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. 
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about metoclopramide and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take metoclopramide exactly as your doctor has told you to. As a guide, it is usual to take one 10 mg tablet (or 10 ml liquid medicine) three times daily. Your dose may be different from this if you are taking it before an operation or medical examination. The dose will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you what your doctor has prescribed.
  • If you are taking metoclopramide as a liquid medicine use an oral syringe to measure your dose accurately.
  • Try to take your doses spread out evenly over the day - every eight hours is ideal. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it when you remember, unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with metoclopramide. This is because metoclopramide can interfere with the way other medicines are absorbed by your body.
  • Try to keep any regular appointments with your doctor. Metoclopramide will only be prescribed for a short while (no more than five days) and your doctor may want to check on your progress afterwards.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking metoclopramide, as it can interfere with some anaesthetics.
  • If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice. Your doctor may recommend you do not drink alcohol while you are on metoclopramide, as the side-effects of both the medicine and alcohol can be increased.

Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below lists some of the most common ones associated with metoclopramide. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve over the first few days of taking a new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Metoclopramide side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Feeling dizzy or sleepyIf this happens, do not drive and do not use tools or machines
Diarrhoea (with high doses)Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluid
Dry mouth, rash, breast tenderness, fast heartbeat, irregular periodsIf any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor
Distressing muscle or movement disorders affecting the body, face, or eyesLet your doctor know about this straightaway

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Mr Michael Stewart
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr John Cox
Document ID:
3236 (v24)
Last Checked:
29/11/2016
Next Review:
29/11/2019
The Information Standard - certified member

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