Metoclopramide is to help prevent you from feeling or being sick.
Side-effects are rare, but some may cause you to be concerned. If you experience any unusual symptoms, speak with your doctor or pharmacist straightaway.
|Type of medicine||Anti-emetic|
|Used for||Nausea and vomiting|
|Available as||Tablets, 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.
Before taking metoclopramide
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 (known as 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, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take metoclopramide
- 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.
- 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.
Getting the most from your treatment
- 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 5 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.
Can metoclopramide cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Metoclopramide side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling dizzy or sleepy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Diarrhoea (with high doses)||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluid|
|Dry mouth, rash, breast tenderness, fast heartbeat, irregular periods||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
|Distressing muscle or movement disorders affecting the body, face, or eyes||Let 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.
How to store metoclopramide
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
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
- Manufacturer's PIL, Metoclopramide Tablets 10 mg, Actavis UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Metoclopramide Hydrochloride Oral Solution, Rosemont Pharmaceuticals Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2012.
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
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 make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr John Cox