Movement Disorders Attributed to Reglan Usage

Seth Harris | March 29th, 2012 | Posted in Reglan Lawsuit News

Many individuals who relied on the prescription medication Reglan (also known as metoclopramide) to treat nausea and other gastrointestinal problems have encountered serious and sometimes permanent Reglan side effects. Among the most serious side effects of the medication are movement disorders such as Reglan cervical dystonia and Reglan tardive dyskinesia.

Movement disorders spur Reglan lawsuit claims

Both Reglan cervical dystonia and Reglan tardive dyskinesia involve abnormal and involuntary muscle movements due to sustained muscle contractions that result in repetitive or patterned movements. The exact mechanism by which Reglan causes movement disorders is uncertain, but research suggests that metoclopramide blocks or distorts the uptake of dopamine in the brain, thereby affecting muscle coordination.

The drug has also been associated with other serious side effects such as Reglan neuroleptic malignant syndrome, Reglan secondary Parkinsons disease, and ocular deviation.

Reglan cervical dystonia: a focal disorder

Reglan cervical dystonia is a focal (as opposed to generalized) dystonia that affects the neck and sometimes the shoulders. Also known as spasmodic torticollis, Reglan cervical dystonia is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that twist the neck and head into awkward, uncomfortable positions.

Individuals suffering from this condition may experience considerable pain, discomfort, social embarrassment, and a diminished quality of life. Though there is no single cure for Reglan cervical dystonia, a number of treatments have been effective in lessening the symptoms. These include surgery, botulinum toxin injections, oral medications, and complementary therapies such as acupuncture and relaxation techniques.

Some individuals suffering from the condition have sought recovery for their injuries through filing a Reglan lawsuit.

Reglan tardive dyskinesia: generalized symptoms

Unlike cervical dystonia, Reglan tardive dyskinesia is generalized in its symptoms and can affect an individual throughout his or her body. Reglan tardive dyskinesia is characterized by repetitive, purposeless movements such as grimacing, rapid blinking, tongue protrusion, finger twitching, lip smacking, and involuntary movements of the legs and arms.

In some severe cases, respiratory muscles can be affected, causing breathing problems. Though the symptoms of Reglan tardive dyskinesia may lessen over time in some individuals, it is often permanent and irreversible.

Generic Reglan lawsuit claims affected by federal preemption

Reglan is manufactured by Wyeth and Schwarz Pharma, Inc., and generic versions are made by Actavis, Inc. and PLIVA, Inc. Before 2009, when the FDA required a “black box” warning label on the medication, many patients and medical professionals were unaware of the high risk of developing movement disorders such as Reglan cervical dystonia and Reglan tardive dyskinesia.

While many Reglan lawsuit claims have been filed, alleging that earlier warning labels were inadequate, recovery from the generic manufacturers has become more difficult in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision which found that most state claims are preempted by federal generic drug labeling requirements.