How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Metoclopramide belongs to the classes of medications called antiemetics and prokinetics. It is used to improve stomach emptying after surgery or other procedures. It can also be used to prevent nausea after operations and is useful in preventing the nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. It works by speeding up the rate at which the stomach empties and by blocking nausea triggers in the brain.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

pms-Metoclopramide is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under metoclopramide. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended adult dose of metoclopramide for symptoms resulting from delayed stomach emptying ranges from 5 mg to 10 mg 3 or 4 times daily before meals. The recommended dose for children (aged 5 to 14 years) is 2.5 mg to 5 mg 3 times daily before meals. The injectable form of metoclopramide is most often used for the prevention of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is usually given by a health care professional in a hospital. The maximum daily dose for both adults and children is 0.5 mg/kg of body weight. 

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take metoclopramide if you:

  • are allergic to metoclopramide or any of the ingredients of this medication
  • have a condition where faster passage of materials through the stomach might be dangerous (e.g., in cases of stomach bleeding, or breaks in the stomach lining)
Metoclopramide should not be given to children less than one year of age.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • diarrhea (with high doses)
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • fatigue
  • restlessness or difficulty sleeping

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • chills
  • difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • dizziness or fainting
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • fever
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • headache (severe or continuing)
  • inability to move eyes
  • increase in blood pressure
  • lip smacking or puckering
  • loss of balance control
  • mask-like face
  • muscle spasms of face, neck, and back
  • puffing of cheeks
  • rapid or worm-like movements of tongue
  • shuffling walk
  • signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
  • sore throat
  • stiffness of arms or legs
  • tic-like or twitching movements
  • trembling and shaking of hands and fingers
  • twisting movements of body
  • uncontrolled chewing movements
  • uncontrolled movements of arms and legs
  • unusual eye movements
  • weakness of arms and legs

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.


[January 5, 2015]

Health Canada has issued new information concerning the use of metoclopramide. To read the full report, visit Health Canada's website at

A previous advisory on metoclopramide was issued on July 20, 2011. To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada's web site at

Drowsiness/reduced alertness : Metoclopramide may cause drowsiness and increase the drowsiness caused by alcohol and other drugs. Avoid driving and doing other potentially hazardous activities until you have determined the effect this medication has on you.

Medical conditions: If you have epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Tardive dyskinesia (TD): Metoclopramide may cause tardive dyskinesia (TD) to develop. TD is a potentially irreversible syndrome of involuntary, repetitive movements of the face and tongue muscles. Although TD appears most commonly in seniors, especially women, it is impossible to predict who will develop TD. The risk of developing TD increases with higher doses and long-term treatment. If you experience muscle twitching or abnormal movements of the face or tongue, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking metoclopramide, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: Metoclopramide should not be used in children less than one year of age. It should only be used in children over one year of age when the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks of side effects. The total daily dose for children should not be higher than 0.5 mg per kilogram of body weight since with higher doses tremors and abnormal twitching movements can occur.

Seniors: Seniors appear to have a higher risk of side effects with long-term treatment of metoclopramide.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between metoclopramide and any of the following:

  • alfuzosin
  • amantadine
  • amiodarone
  • anticholinergic medications (e.g., scopolamine, tolterodine)
  • anti-psychotics (e.g., chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
  • atovaquone
  • "azole" antifungals (e.g., fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
  • bromocriptine
  • chloroquine
  • cisapride
  • cyclobenzaprine
  • cyclosporine
  • disopyramide
  • domperidone
  • dronedarone
  • fingolimod
  • flecainide
  • levodopa
  • lithium
  • lopinavir
  • macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
  • metyrosine
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs; e.g., moclobemide, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine)
  • narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone)
  • procainamide
  • prochlorperazine
  • propafenone
  • quinidine
  • quinine
  • quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin, levofloxacin)
  • ropinirole
  • saquinavir
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI; e.g., fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline)
  • sotalol
  • St. John's wort
  • tetrabenazine
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, desipramine, nortriptyline)
  • "triptan" migraine medications (e.g., eletriptan, sumatriptan)
  • tramadol
  • trazodone
  • tryptophan
  • venlafaxine

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.