Metoclopramide

Sounds like 'MET-oh-KLOE-pra-mide'

Easy-to-read medicine information about metoclopramide – what it is, how to take metoclopramide safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine

Also called

  • Medicine used to treat nausea and vomiting
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as anti-emetics
  • Metamide®
  • Maxolon®

What is metoclopramide?

  • Metoclopramide is used to treat and prevent nausea and vomiting, such as when associated with a surgical operation, or due to cancer medication, or a migraine headache.
  • It is also used to treat on-going heartburn when the usual medicines do not work well enough, and it is used in people with diabetes who have poor emptying of their stomachs (gastroparesis).   
  • Metoclopramide works by blocking a natural substance, dopamine, and in this way speeds up stomach emptying and helps your digestive system moving.  

Dose

  • The usual dose of metoclopramide is 10 milligrams 3 times a day.
  • But the dose may be different for different uses.
  • Always take your metoclopramide exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much metoclopramide to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take metoclopramide

  • Take metoclopramide with a glass of water, about 30 minutes before meals.
  • If heartburn only occurs at certain times (such as after the evening meal), your doctor may direct you to take a single dose before those times instead of taking it throughout the day. This will reduce your risk of side effects.
  • Limit drinking alcohol while your are taking metoclopramide. Alcohol can increase the risk of side effects.
  • If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, metoclopramide can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effectsWhat should I do?
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea (loose stool)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking metoclopramide, and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling tired
  •  Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Breast changes such as pain or enlargement
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine.
  • Signs of movement changes such as shaking (tremors), slow or difficult movements, muscle stiffness 
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine.

Interactions

  • Metoclopramide may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Metoclopramide may also interact with some medicines that are available without prescription such as antihistamines (may be in anti-allergy, anti-nausea and cough/cold preparations) and prochlorperazine (e.g. Buccastem).

Learn more

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet
Maxalon
Metamide

 

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Last reviewed: 14 Apr 2015