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What is Metoclopram For?

By Anna Aronson ; Updated July 27, 2017

Metoclopram, a prescription drug more commonly called metoclopramide, is typically given to people with certain digestive disorders. It is generally prescribed to be used on a short-term basis only. It is usually taken orally four times a day about 30 minutes before a eating. It may take users several days or even weeks to see results, and patients should not stop taking it without consulting their doctor. Metoclopramide is also available under the brand name Reglan from Alaven Pharmaceutical.


Metoclopramide can be used to treat damage to the stomach and esophagus in people with acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It can also be used to treat diabetics with a condition called gastroparesis, in which the stomach does not empty properly.

How It Works

Metoclopramide falls into a class of medications called dopamine receptor antagonists. It increases the movement of the muscles in the stomach and intestines to aid in the digestion of food and also affects an area of the brain to help decrease the sensation of nausea. Metoclopramide helps heal damage to the stomach and esophagus caused by acid and also relieves the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.


Metoclopramide is not safe for all people, including those with seizure conditions, blockage, bleeding or perforation in the stomach or intestines and adrenal gland tumors. Additionally, people taking medications including cabergoline, pergolide and phenothiazines should not take metoclopramide.

Non-Serious Side Effects

Some known side effects of metoclopramide include drowsiness and dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, headaches and difficulty sleeping. None of these effects is cause for concern, but tell your doctor if they worsen or become bothersome.

Serious Side Effects

Some side effects of metoclopramide could indicate that a problem has developed that may require medical treatment. Inform your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms while taking the drug: confusion or abnormal thinking; jaundice; dark urine; decreased coordination or sexual function; hallucinations; fever; a fast, slow or irregular heartbeat; inability to control the bladder; mood changes, including suicidal thoughts or actions; severe dizziness or restlessness; seizures; muscle rigidity; shortness or breath; unexplained weight gain; increased sweating; swelling in the arms, legs or feet; muscle twitches or tremors and vision changes.

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