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Reglan for Lactation

Reglan for inducing lactation (breastmilk production) has been prescribed by some doctors in the U.S., although this is clearly an "off-label," non-FDA-approved use of this medication. Reglan is a prescription-only anti-emetic, prokinetic drug; this means that it helps prevent vomiting and nausea and helps the small intestines work harder. These approved purposes of Reglan have nothing to do with inducing lactation.

A Side Effect of Reglan May Induce Lactation

Reglan is approved for treating severe heartburn, nausea, gastroparesis (when the stomach won't empty adequately) and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). The reason that Reglan came to be used to induce lactation is based on a side effect of Reglan (metoclopramide) — increasing prolactin levels. Prolactin can be thought of as "the breastmilk-making" hormone.

Does Reglan Help to Induce Lactation?

Although Reglan does indeed increase the prolactin level of some women, this may not be enough to induce lactation. In addition, a woman and her physician considering Reglan use for the induction of lactation should think about whether the potential side effects of Reglan are worth the risks. In addition to the "mild" side effects of Reglan, such as depression, headache, dizziness and a more frequent need to urinate, Reglan has been linked to two very serious disorders:

1. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) , a life-threatening condition characterized by:

  • sweating
  • stiff muscles
  • irregular pulse or blood pressure
  • irregular heart rhythms
  • high fever
  • fast heart rate
  • confusion or anxiety

2. Tardive dyskinesia (TD) , a potentially permanent movement disorder characterized by:

  • hyperkinesia
  • postural instability
  • rigidity
  • tremors or involuntary movements of the eyes, tongue, jaw, neck and limbs

Reglan: The Most Common Cause of Drug-Induced Movement Disorders

As an FDA advisory issued in February 2009 stated, "Recently published analyses suggest that metoclopramide [Reglan] is the most common cause of drug-induced movement disorders."

The off-label use of Reglan to induce lactation may cause illness, injury, or permanent damage. If you or a member of your family suffered from Reglan treatment for any reason, contact a Reglan lawyer today to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Reglan lawyer who is familiar with such losses. You may be eligible for a legal remedy.

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