Reglan Interactions & Special Populations
Patients who are young, old, female and/or pregnant or nursing presents special challenges and risks for health care professionals, particularly when it comes to the class of prescription drugs known as dopamine antagonists such as Reglan.These medications prevent signals from the brain going to various parts of the body.
Reglan and Juvenile Patients
Although it is rare for children and adolescents to suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), young people have been prescribed Reglan for other reasons. Those suffering from the side effects of cancer treatments (chemotherapy and radiation) are sometimes given Reglan to control nausea and vomiting.
One of the common side effects of Reglan is tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder that is characterized by uncontrolled muscle contractions and awkward postures. It has been determined that young people under the age of 30 are not only at an elevated risk for developing such symptoms, but that tardive dyskinesia may appear almost immediately once Reglan therapy has started.
Reglan and the Elderly
It was among geriatric patients that the side effects of Reglan became apparent. A study conducted by researchers from the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 noted that geriatric patients had the greatest risk of developing symptoms of tardive dyskinesia. Elderly women appear to be at greatest risk, although it is not clear whether this is because of factors related to gender or rather because women make up the majority of those who are prescribed Reglan (67 percent).
Reglan and Pregnancy or Nursing
Although there has been no evidence to show that Reglan can pass the placental barrier between mother and fetus, it is always unwise for a pregnant woman to take any sort of medication unless her life and that of the fetus is otherwise threatened. Research has shown that Reglan can be passed to a nursing baby though breastfeeding. Since the effects of Reglan on young children can be severe and immediate, it is best to avoid Reglan while nursing.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. "Dystonia Fact Sheet." http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dystonias/detail_dystonias.htm
- Shaffer, Douglas et. al. "Tardive Dyskinesia and Metoclopramide Use: Effects of Cisapride Market Withdrawal." Journal of the American Pharmacists Association vol. 44 no. 6 (2004).