Updated 11 February 2013


Metoclopramide is prescribed to treat nausea and vomiting that results from many causes, including chemotherapy and various digestive disorders.


Metoclopramide is the active ingredient of Betaclopramide, Clopamon, Contromet, Maxolon, Merck-Metoclopramide, Metalon, Micro Metoclopramide, Pramalon, Sabax Metoclopramide, Sandoz Metoclopramide and Setin.

General information

Metoclopramide is prescribed to treat nausea and vomiting that results from many causes, including chemotherapy and various digestive disorders.

It is furthermore effective in relieving digestive symptoms such as acid reflux, indigestion and heartburn.

This medication enhances the speed at which the stomach is emptied. This is of particular use in migraine as metoclopramide enhances absorption and efficacy of painkillers (non-opioid). It is therefore often found in migraine cocktails that pharmacists make up. Caution is advised in patients under the age of 20; metoclopramide may cause muscle spasm in the face and neck.

How does metoclopramide work?

Metoclopramide lowers the effect of dopamine in the chemo-emetic trigger zone, thereby preventing messages from being sent to the vomiting centre of the brain. The result is a reduction in nausea and vomiting. It furthermore speeds the passage of food through the stomach into the intestine, which physically helps to prevent vomiting.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4

Available as: metoclopramide is available as tablets, syrup and as an injection

What does it do? metoclopramide relieves nausea and vomiting

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: low

Is metoclopramide available as a generic? yes

Is metoclopramide available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 60 minutes

Duration of action: up to 6 hours

Stopping this medicine: this medication can be safely stopped when no longer needed

Prolonged use: metoclopramide is generally not used for prolonged periods of time; tardive dyskinesia may be observed with prolonged use

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have kidney or liver disease
  • you have epilepsy
  • you have phaeochromocytoma
  • you have bowel obstruction/perforation
  • you have Parkinson's disease
  • you have depression
  • you have porphyria
  • you are under the age of 20
  • you are taking other medicine

Pregnancy: avoid. It is not known how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children.

The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly and a reduction in dose may be necessary.

Driving and hazardous work : caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases










abdominal pain/ diarrhoea



milk production (reversible)



muscle spasms







Drug interactions


reduced effect of atovaquone

CNS depressants (i.e. alcohol, barbiturates, sedatives etc.)

potensiation of CNS effects


diabetic control may be affected

oral antidiabetic drugs

diabetic control may be affected

orally absorbed drugs

absorption may be reduced as a result of increased GI transit time

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have kidney or liver disease, epilepsy, phaeochromocytoma, bowel obstruction/perforation, Parkinson's disease, depression, porphyria or if you are under the age of 20.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: > 60mg: 10mg three times a day

< 60mg: 5mg three times a day

Maximum dose: 0.5mg/kg/24 hours

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.


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