Metoclopramide (Reglan) :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Helping Hand Logo


Metoclopramide (Reglan®)

Metoclopramide (MET uh CLO prah mide) is the generic name for Reglan®. This medicine is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux (GERD or reflux) or delayed gastric (stomach) emptying. It also treats or prevents nausea and vomiting. Symptoms should go away in 1 to 3 days after starting treatment.

How This Medicine Works

Diagram of gastrointestinal system

Picture 1: The gastrointestinal (GI) system inside the body.

It improves muscle movement of the food tube (esophagus) and the stomach. It also tightens the muscle between the esophagus and stomach (Picture 1). This decreases the chance of food coming back up. Metoclopramide also helps to strengthen the stomach muscle so food can move into the intestine faster.
  • Reglan® tablets and syrup start working 30 to 60 minutes after being taken. The effects last several hours.
  • The doctor will have you give the medicine 3 or 4 times per day:
    • 3 times a day – (when possible) Give it 30 minutes before meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
    • 4 times a day – (when possible) Give it 30 minutes before meals and once at bedtime.

Drug – Nutrient Interactions

This medicine should not be taken with these other medicines:
  • Sertraline (Zoloft®)
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet®)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Levodopa
  • (MAOI’s for depression)
  • Tacrolimus (Prograf®, Protropic®)
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin®)
  • Cyclosporine (Neoral®, Sandimmune®)
If your child is taking any other medicine, Kava Kava, or other herbal supplements, tell your doctor and pharmacist. Certain medicines should not be taken with pain medicines, sedatives or seizure medicines.

How to Give This Medicine

Images of medicine measuring devices

Picture 2: Measuring devices for medicine.

  • Use a pediatric measuring device (available at the pharmacy)
or a measuring spoon to measure the exact dose (Picture 2).
Do not measure liquid medicines in kitchen spoons.
  • Read the label carefully and make sure you are giving your child the right dose. It is easy to confuse the many different dosage forms and strengths.
  • Give the exact dose of medicine that your doctor ordered.
  • Stay with your child until he or she has swallowed the dose of medicine.
  • It is very important to give the medicine every day as ordered, even if your child is feeling fine. Do not change doses or stop the medicine without talking to your child’s doctor.

If You Forget to Give a Dose

If you forget to give a dose of this medicine, but remember within about an hour, give it right away. Then go back to your regular dosing schedule. If you do not remember until later, do not give the missed dose at all and do not double the next one. Instead, go back to your regular dosing schedule. If you have any questions about this, check with your child's doctor or pharmacist.

If a Dose Is Vomited

  • If your child gags or chokes and spits out the dose before swallowing it, let the child calm down and then give the same amount one more time.
  • Even if the medicine is vomited (thrown up) right after it is given, some of the medicine may still be in the stomach. Do not repeat the dose unless it is in tablet form and you can see the whole tablet was vomited.
  • If the liquid form is vomited (thrown up) right after you give it, do not repeat the dose. Some of the medicine may still be in the stomach. The vomiting might be due to the strong taste of the medicine. For the next scheduled dose, try giving the medicine in applesauce or jelly. If the vomiting continues, call your child's doctor.


  • If your child is allergic to metoclopramide, he or she should not take this medicine.
  • This medicine can cause seizures. Let your child’s doctor know of a history of seizures.
  • Let your child’s doctor know of any history of poor kidney function or depression. The dose may need to be decreased.
Extrapyramidal (EX trah peer AM ih dahl) Side Effects
Sometimes Reglan® will cause unusual side effects called Extrapyramidal Side Effects (EPSE). These side effects are muscle spasms the child cannot control. The child may:
  • Turn his eyes upward.
  • Appear to have a stiff or "locked" jaw.
  • Have trouble talking or moving his mouth and tongue.
  • Bend or twist his neck to one side.
  • Arch his back (bend backwards) because of a muscle spasm in the back.
  • These effects can also occur after the medicine has been stopped. This is more likely in patients who take it for a long time (more than 3 months). The effects may be permanent, and there is no treatment.
If any of these EPSE reactions occur, stop giving the medicine and contact your child's doctor.

Special Note for Female Patients

  • If a patient thinks she might be pregnant, she should tell the doctor before she begins taking this or any medicine.
  • If a patient is breast-feeding her baby, she should tell her doctor before she begins taking this or any medicine.

Possible Side Effects

  • Drowsiness, tiredness
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Swelling (especially hands and feet)
  • Extrapyramidal side effects (see box above)

What to Do about Side Effects

  • If a skin rash occurs, stop giving the medicine and call your child's doctor.
  • If your child becomes drowsy or sleepy, do not let him ride a bike or operate machinery (such as a lawnmower or car) or take part in any activities where he must stay alert and awake.

Signs of Overdose

Stop giving the medicine and call your child's doctor if you see either of these signs of overdose:
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Confusion

When to Call the Doctor

Call your child's doctor if your child has:
  • Extrapyramidal side effects (see information box on page 3).
  • Any side effects that continue or are very bothersome.
  • Signs of an overdose.
Medicine Storage
  • Store all medicine out of the reach of children.
  • Always keep medicine in the original bottle from the pharmacy.
  • Do not keep this medicine in the refrigerator. Store at room temperature.
  • Light and moisture make this medicine not work as well. Keep the bottle tightly closed and store it in a dark, dry place (not in the bathroom or above the kitchen sink).
  • Keep this medicine away from heat or direct sunlight.
  • When this medicine is no longer needed, dissolve the leftover medicine in water or rubbing alcohol. Mix the dissolved medicine with an unwanted material (like coffee grounds). Then, place the mixture back in the pill container or in another container that will not leak. Throw the container away in the trash where children and pets cannot reach it.

Other Advice about the Medicine

  • Ask your pharmacist for two labeled bottles if your daycare provider will be giving this medicine.
  • Important: Get this prescription refilled at least 2 days before the last dose is given.
  • Some pharmacies may not have this medicine. Please ask your nurse to call your pharmacy before you leave the hospital to see if they have this medicine or can order it for you. You may also have the prescription filled at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Pharmacy.
  • If your child has trouble taking medicine, ask your nurse for Helping Hand HH-IV-28: Medications, How to Give by Mouth.
Tell your child's doctor and pharmacist if your child has ever had a strange or allergic reaction to any medicine.
  • Do not stop giving this medicine or change the amount given without first talking with your child's doctor or pharmacist. Stopping the medicine allows symptoms to come back. Increasing the dose can be dangerous.
  • If you carry medicine in your purse, keep it in its childproof bottle and keep your purse out of the reach of children.
  • Bring all your child's medicines with you in the original bottles whenever your child sees a doctor, goes to an emergency room or is admitted to the hospital. This helps doctors who may not know your child.
  • Learn the name, spelling and dose of this medicine. Teach your child also, if he is old enough. You need to know this information when you call your doctor or pharmacist.
  • If your child takes too much of this medicine, or if someone else takes this medicine, first call the Central Ohio Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 (TTY 614-228-2272). They will tell you what to do.
  • The doctor has prescribed this medicine for your child only. Do not give it to anyone else.
  • Tell your child's teacher, school nurse, coach, babysitter and others your child is taking this medicine and what side effects to watch for.
  • Your child's school will need a note from you and from the doctor if the medicine is to be given at school by the school nurse.

Follow-Up Visits

  • You can expect to have regular follow-up visits with your child's doctor.
  • Write down all your questions as you think of them. Bring this list with you when you see the doctor.
  • Be sure to call the doctor if you cannot keep the appointment.

If you have any questions, be sure to ask your child’s doctor, nurse or pharmacist.



Metoclopramide (Reglan®) (PDF)

HH-V-29 9/92 Reviewed 5/15 Copyright 1992, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000