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Metoclopramide Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to metoclopramide: oral solution, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet disintegrating

Other dosage forms:

Along with its needed effects, metoclopramide may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking metoclopramide:

Incidence not known
  • Chills
  • clay colored stools
  • dark urine
  • difficulty with breathing
  • difficulty with speaking or swallowing
  • dizziness or fainting
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • fever
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • headache (severe or continuing)
  • inability to move the eyes
  • increase in blood pressure
  • increased sweating
  • itching, skin rash
  • lip smacking or puckering
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of balance control
  • loss of bladder control
  • mask-like face
  • muscle spasms of the face, neck, and back
  • nausea
  • puffing of the cheeks
  • rapid or worm-like movements of the tongue
  • seizures
  • shuffling walk
  • sore throat
  • stiffness of the arms or legs
  • stomach pain or tenderness
  • swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • tic-like or twitching movements
  • trembling and shaking of the hands and fingers
  • twisting movements of the body
  • uncontrolled chewing movements
  • uncontrolled movements of the arms and legs
  • unusually pale skin
  • vomiting
  • weakness of the arms and legs
  • yellow eyes or skin

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking metoclopramide:

Symptoms of overdose
  • Confusion
  • drowsiness (severe)

Some side effects of metoclopramide may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • loss of strength or energy
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • restlessness
  • unusual weak feeling
Incidence not known
  • Breast tenderness and swelling
  • changes in menstruation
  • constipation
  • decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • inability to have or keep an erection
  • increased flow of breast milk
  • increased need to urinate
  • loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • mental depression
  • passing urine more often
  • skin rash
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual dryness of the mouth
  • unusual irritability

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to metoclopramide: compounding powder, injectable solution, oral concentrate, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet disintegrating


The incidence of side effects correlates with dose and duration of metoclopramide therapy.[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Drowsiness/somnolence (up to 70%), extrapyramidal syndrome (EPS)/acute dystonic reactions (at least 25%)
Common (1% to 10%): Fatigue, restlessness, lassitude, parkinsonism/parkinsonian symptoms, akathisia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dystonia, depressed level of consciousness, dyskinesia, hallucinations
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Seizures/convulsions, dizziness, headache
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
Frequency not reported: Tardive dyskinesia, pseudo-parkinsonism, syncope[Ref]

Drowsiness, decreased level of consciousness, confusion, and hallucinations have higher incidences with higher doses.

Convulsive seizures have been reported, especially in patients with epilepsy; however, there is no obvious association with use of this drug.

Parkinsonian symptoms may be related to usual/excessive doses and/or decreased renal function and includes tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, and akinesia.[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Depression/acute depression
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Confusion/confusional state
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Trouble sleeping/insomnia, unusual irritability
Frequency not reported: Mental depression with suicidal ideation/suicide, anxiety, agitation, mania, psychosis, severe dysphoria, obsessive rumination, delirium[Ref]


Hypotension, bradycardia, shock, and other abnormalities or cardiac conduction occurred most frequently with IV formulations.

Cardiac arrest occurred shortly after IV administration, and may have been subsequent to bradycardia.

Sinus arrest and transient facial/upper body flushing occurred, particularly with IV administration. Flushing typically occurred without alterations in vital signs following high dose IVs.

Edema/fluid retention may be secondary to a transient increase in aldosterone levels.[Ref]

Common (1% to 10%): Hypotension
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Bradycardia
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Edema/fluid retention, face edema
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Abnormalities of cardiac conduction (e.g., bradycardia, asystole, heart block, sinus arrest, cardiac arrest)
Frequency not reported: Hypertension, ventricular/supraventricular tachycardia, tachycardia, acute congestive heart failure, atrioventricular (AV) block, QT prolonged, Torsade de Pointes, acute hypertension/hypertensive crisis in patients with pheochromocytoma, transient flushing of the face and upper body, atrial fibrillation, ventricular fibrillation, shock, palpitations[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Constipation, unusual dryness of the mouth, nausea
Frequency not reported: Bowel disturbances (primarily diarrhea)[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia
Frequency not reported: Hyperthermia[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Amenorrhea/irregular periods, hyperprolactinemia
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Galactorrhea
Frequency not reported: Gynecomastia/breast enlargement, transient increase in aldosterone levels[Ref]

Amenorrhea, galactorrhea, and gynecomastia occurred secondary to hyperprolactinemia during prolonged treatment.[Ref]


Anaphylactic shock typically occurred with the IV formulation.[Ref]

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypersensitivity/hypersensitivity reactions
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Anaphylactic shock, anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions (e.g., tongue swelling/edema)
Frequency not reported: Angioneurotic edema (e.g., glossal/laryngoedema reactions)[Ref]


Leukopenia, neutropenia, and agranulocytosis typically did not have a clear-cut relationship with this drug.

Methemoglobinemia and sulfhemoglobinemia occurred with high doses of this drug. Methemoglobinemia may be related to NADH cytochrome b5 reductase deficiency or overdose, particularly in neonates. Sulfhemoglobinemia usually occurred in adults with concomitant use of high doses of sulfur-releasing products.[Ref]

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Leukopenia, neutropenia, porphyria, agranulocytosis
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Red cell disorders (e.g., methemoglobinemia, sulfhemoglobinemia)[Ref]


Rash and urticaria typically occurred in patients with a history of asthma.[Ref]

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Skin rash, maculopapular rash, urticaria, pruritus[Ref]


Hepatotoxicity occurred with concurrent use of other potentially hepatotoxic drugs and was characterized by findings such as jaundice and altered liver function tests.[Ref]

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Hepatotoxicity (jaundice, altered liver function tests)
Postmarketing reports: Arteriovenous shunting and cholestasis in conjunction with hepatic hemangiomatosis[Ref]


Dystonic reactions typically presented as upper airway obstruction with stridor and dyspnea.[Ref]

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Dystonic reaction
Frequency not reported: Muscle spasm[Ref]


Bronchospasm, wheezing, and dyspnea typically occurred in patients with a history of asthma.

Respiratory failure occurred secondary to dystonic reactions.[Ref]

Frequency not reported: Bronchospasm, dyspnea, respiratory failure, acute asthmatic symptoms (e.g., wheezing, dyspnea)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Urinary frequency, incontinence, sexual dysfunction, priapism, impotence[Ref]

Impotence may be secondary to hyperprolactinemia.[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Visual disturbances[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

3. "Product Information. Reglan (metoclopramide)." Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.

Some side effects of metoclopramide may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.