Reglan Side Effects: Are Nursing Infants at Risk?

Ryan Green | June 29th, 2011 | Posted in Reglan Lawsuit News

Every Reglan lawsuit filed by a Reglan lawyer helps bring to light harmful Reglan side effects such as Reglan tardive dyskinesia, an incurable involuntary movement disorder. But while most patients use Reglan to treat heartburn and other gastrointestinal problems, some doctors have prescribed it to new mothers to increase their milk supply. Are these mothers at equal risk to develop Reglan tardive dyskinesia? What about their babies?

Indications for Reglan use

Reglan, also known as metoclopramide, is indicated for patients who suffer from the effects of a slow-moving digestion system, which include heartburn and acid reflux. Metoclopramide works by stimulating the muscles of the stomach and upper intestinal tract.

A secondary function of the drug is to stimulate lactation. No official dosing strategy has been established for this particular use of metoclopramide, though postpartum mothers have customarily been prescribed 30 mgs daily, which is equivalent to the 30-40 mgs indicated daily for heartburn patients.

Risk of  Reglan side effects is the same for all users

The risk of developing Reglan tardive dyskinesia is the same for nursing mothers as it is for patients who take the drug to treat gastrointestinal problems. The length of treatment is the significant variable. The likelihood of experiencing Reglan side effects increases with the length of time the drug is used. For this reason, the maximum usage term allowed by the FDA for Reglan is 12 weeks.

Tell a Reglan lawyer about child’s exposure to Reglan

Tests have established that metoclopramide is transferred to the infant through breast milk. Though most clinical studies have found no harmful effects of maternal Reglan use in breast-fed infants, no study has adequately determined if infants exposed to metoclopramide through breast milk have subsequently experienced Reglan side effects, or if they are at high risk of developing Reglan tardive dyskinesia.

An experienced Reglan lawyer can educate plaintiffs on the symptoms of Reglan tardive dyskinesia, which include involuntary spasms of the limbs and face, tongue protrusions, lip smacking and puckering, and a peculiar twitching of the fingers that gives the appearance that the sufferer is playing an invisible piano. Reglan tardive dyskinesia is often fatal, and has no cure.

Other Reglan side effects that have been reported in nursing mothers include depression, anxiety, fatigue, vertigo and hair loss.  In 2009, the FDA issued its strongest “black box” warning for all Reglan uses.