Thousands of patients that have taken the acid reflux drug Reglan — and suffered from the adverse side effects that are associated with the drug, as well. What many people don’t know is that some of those side effects are the same as those experienced by patients taking antipsychotic medications.
With claims that the drug makers didn’t properly warn the patients of the potential for them to develop severe side effects like tardive dyskinesia, thousands of lawsuits have been filed. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) denied a request to have all of the federal cases consolidated into an MDL, although 1,000 lawsuits have been consolidated in New Jersey which is where the makers of the drug is based. Tardive dyskinesia the main side effect that is suffered by the majority of plaintiffs in the lawsuits. TD is characterized by Parkinson’s-like symptoms. This side effect is commonly seen in patients taking antipsychotic medications.
One difference between Reglan and antipsychotics is that Reglan/metoclopramide is used specifically used to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as gastric reflux (GERD) and gastric stasis, whereas antipsychotics are used to treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Reglan is a gastrointestinal stimulant; it works because it increases peristalsis of the duodenum and jejunum. These are the two parts of your small intestine. The drug helps to make the body’s gastric contractions stronger. Reglan also helps the pyloric sphincter relax so that the valve that is used to connect the small intestines to the stomach can get food to pass through the upper GI tract a bit faster.
Even though Reglan and antipsychotics often result in the same side effects, they are not used to treat the same disorders. Recently, the FDA has enforced label changes on Reglan that alert patients to avoid taking the drug for periods that are no longer than 12 weeks after it became clear that many patients had been prescribed the drug for periods as long as years.