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What Factors Affect a Sufficient Metoclopramide Dose?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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The proper metoclopramide dose is typically the lowest possible one necessary for effectiveness. There are many potential side effects and drug interactions associated with this medication, and doctors have to be mindful of this when prescribing it to patients. Those with certain health conditions should avoid or take a very low metoclopramide dose.

Metoclopramide is a prescription medication given for those with persistent gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and for diabetics who have a slow moving digestive transit time. It speeds up the digestive system by causing muscle contractions in the intestines. This helps to move the stomach acid which causes GERD back into the stomach where it belongs, and to move food and waste materials through the small and larger intestines more quickly. Metoclopramide dose is usually relatively low, and this drug is only used in those who have tried other medications without success.

Patients may be started on the lowest available metoclopramide dose available and then slowly increased to a higher one if necessary. Due to a potential for long-term and serious side effects, this medication should not be used for longer than 12 weeks unless instructed by a doctor. Permanent involuntary muscle spasms may result, and in many cases this is irreversible. This drug is typically only used to give patients relief of symptoms when other medications are not working, or to buy time so a doctor can develop a more long-term treatment plan.

Metoclopramide can cause severe drug interactions with several varieties of medication. These may include certain depression medications, aceteminophen, and some natural supplements or herbs. Those who are taking any other form of medication, no matter how safe it seems, should alert their doctors before taking metoclopramide. The drug dosage may have to be altered, or patients may be advised to avoid it altogether if they are taking certain medications.

Those with heart, kidney, or liver problems may have to take a very low metoclopramide dose or they may not be able to take this medication at all. Patients with bleeding in the intestines, ulcers, or intestinal blockages are encouraged not to take this drug because serious side effects may result. Side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, or headache. Those with vomiting or diarrhea should make sure to stay well hydrated to avoid potential complications. If side effects become severe, or if an allergic reaction occurs, the medication should be discontinued and a doctor should be notified.

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