Medications Harming Your Digestive Health – Reglan

Medications Harming Your Digestive Health - Reglan

Nausea is a common symptom of many ailments like the flu, food poisoning, stress, or even motion sickness. When patients visit overworked doctors, they are often prescribed Reglan to ease their symptoms. Is Reglan the best choice for you?


Reglan is a medication that relieves heartburn by encouraging the stomach to empty its contents into the small intestine instead of regurgitating. 1 It works by using D2 dopamine signaling the pyloric sphincter to relax and allow gastric fluid and foodstuffs to pass through. 2 D2 receptors also control vomiting and communicate with the stomach to make it relax the LES during ingestion or burping. Reglan is an antiemetic, a gastroprokinetic agent, and it also has been shown to increase LES tone. 3

Common side effects of Reglan include restlessness, drowsiness, fatigue, and focal dystonia. Some people even experience blood pressure regulation dysfunction, tardive dyskinesia, akathisia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and systemic allergic reactions. 4 Reglan crosses the blood-brain barrier resulting in CNS side effects. 5

I find tardive dyskinesia is one of the most worrying side effects associated with Reglan. It is a disease in which the body has permanent, involuntary, and repetitive body movements. The FDA issued a black box warning on Reglan stating that there is a strong indication Reglan can cause tardive dyskinesia. 6 The longer you take Reglan, and the quantity of the dose you consume creates a higher concentration of Reglan in the brain. If you are under twenty, you are also in a higher risk category to develop tardive dyskinesia. 7 The next time your doctor discusses Reglan for your condition, you should weigh the pros and cons of the medication with your doctor, and take the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time possible.

Sadly, there appears to be a safer “dopaminergic” antagonist that is in use in the European Union, domperidone.

In Europe, there is a much safer drug called domperidone that also blocks the 5-HT4 receptors, but unlike Reglan, it does not cross the blood-brain barrier. 8 Most of the CNS side effects are absent with domperidone meaning much less risk. Sadly, domperidone is not available in the United States because the intravenous form of has been linked to an irregular heartbeat. 9

A safer prokinetic and anti-nausea agent would be to use fresh ginger, or New Chapter Ginger Force (as long as you have a healthy gallbladder).

The next medication I will write about is the most common prescribed medicine for “improving” digestive health, Proton Pump Inhibitors!


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