Reglan: Is it just another prescription drug?
Reglan (generic name: metoclopramide), developed by Schwarz Pharma, is a prescription drug commonly used to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as gastroparesis (delayed movement of food from stomach into the intestines) and gastroesophageal reflux (a backup of stomach acid into the esophagus).
Originally approved by FDA (Food and Drug administration) in 1985, since February 2009 this drug has been put under black box warning which involves including a black label warning on all boxes detailing out the risks associated with chronic/ prolonged drug use resulting in Tardive Dyskinesia, a neurological disorder, among others. FDA has advised against the use of drug for a period of more than 12 weeks and this drug is currently not recommended for patients under 18 years of age.
Common Reglan side effects
Reglan is available in a tablet, oral disintegrating tablet, oral solution and injection format, and has been prescribed for usage across all groups including pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, infants and children. Some of the common Reglan side effects are breast swelling or tenderness, changes in menstruation, nausea, headache, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, frequent urination, insomnia, impotence, restlessness.
Other side effects that require immediate medical attention include agitation, anxiety, confusion, depression, fever, hallucinations, jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), loss of bladder control (incontinence), rapid breathing, restless muscle movements, seizure, swelling, stiff muscles, suicidal thoughts, sweating, uneven heartbeat. Reglan is also considered an addictive drug – patients who have stopped using Reglan have suffered from withdrawal symptoms including dizziness, headache and nervousness.
Reglan usage has also been linked to a number of serious health problems that include:
- Agranulocytosis (low levels of white blood cells caused by the failure of the bone marrow to make enough)
- Aldosteronism (high blood pressure and low blood potassium levels caused by excessive hormonal production by adrenal glands)
- Liver problems
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) (delirium, fever, muscle rigidity and movement difficulties leading to life threatening neurological condition)
- Severe allergic reactions
- Suicidal thoughts/ depression
- Tachycardia (increased heart rate) or Arrhythmia (uneven heart rate)
- Tardive Dyskinesia (involuntary and repetitive movements in the lower face, trunk, limbs)
- Symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease (difficulty in initiating movements)
Most of the above health problems may manifest months after discontinuing Reglan use and can be life threatening in nature. Tardive Dyskinesia is one such serious disorder that affects in 1 in 3 long-term Regan users. The symptoms include repetitive movements of fingers, arms, legs and torso, rapid eye movement or blinking, constant lip smacking, unintentional face grimacing and tongue protrusion. These symptoms could lead to awkwardness in the individuals suffering from the syndrome, alienating them socially and emotionally. Tardive Dyskinesia is difficult to detect in the early stages, thus leading to a prolonged usage of the drug by the affected user.
How to seek compensation as an affected Reglan user?
If you are Reglan user and develop any of the above symptoms leading to serious health conditions, you should immediately seek medical help to address the health issue and inform your doctor about previous Reglan use. You should also consult a lawyer to check for a viable legal case against Schwarz Pharma and if there is one also take part in the class action representing injured parties to claim financial compensation. Most lawyers are working on filing a class action representing all those users affected by Tardive Dyskinesia. In these cases, no legal fee needs to be paid upfront and the legal fees are deducted from the compensation paid out by Schwarz Pharma.
The compensation in the Reglan side effects case could include lost wages due to temporary or permanent disability, past medical bills, ongoing treatment costs and emotional distress caused by suffering and pain. As a Reglan user affected by its serious side effects, you are entitled to this financial compensation that will help you pay the medical bills arising out of the treating the side effects and can help you restore your life back to normalcy, though not in the same way as it was before you were affected by Reglan side effects.