Rite-Aid, one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains, recently filed a lawsuit against Ranbaxy Laboratories, maker of the generic drug metoclopramide (brand names: Reglan, Deglan and Maxolon). Rite-Aid has been embroiled in lawsuits over the negative side effects of this drug and is claiming Ranbaxy Laboratories is failing to help victims of these side effects.
A Known Problem
Reglan and other drugs containing metoclopramide are well known by the courts. They have been found to cause a muscle disorder known as tardive dyskinesia (TD), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires special warning labels on its packaging and urges prescribing doctors to review the risks with patients before giving them the drug.
What Reglan is Prescribed For
Prescribed to treat gastrointestinal disorders, metoclopramides help patients with a condition where the stomach is slow to empty into the intestines. Metoclopramides speed up the stomach muscles, allowing the body to process foods at a healthy rate. Occasionally a side-effect seen in people with diabetes, a slow stomach can cause problems including nausea, vomiting, heartburn and loss of appetite. The effectiveness of metoclopramide against nausea and vomiting also makes it a popular choice for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and for people suffering migraine headaches.
When Problems Occur
While diabetes, cancer and migraine are serious conditions, tardive dyskinesia that may be caused by metoclopramides can only add to these patients’ woes. Symptoms are thought to be permanent and, while not life threatening, can significantly detract from a victim’s quality of life. Research is ongoing to pinpoint the exact cause, but it’s believed that TD is caused when chemical pathways in the brain become damaged, sometimes because of metoclopramides.
Patients Facing an Increased Risk
Research indicates an increased risk when the drug is taken for longer periods of time, and recommends patients not exceed 12 weeks of continuous use. Elderly patients, especially women, and people taking medications for mental illness also face an increased risk of developing metoclopramine-induced TD.
Although tardive dyskinesia is considered to be permanent, there are some treatment options that attempt to control its symptoms. Drugs that counteract the loss of motor function and “shakes” of Parkinson’s Disease are known to help, as well as medications to rebalance the chemical pathways in the brain.
If your doctor prescribed metoclopramide based medications like Reglan, Deglan or Maxolon and you have experienced any of the symptoms in the list above, please contact us. Our attorneys specialize in prescription drug related cases and you may be entitled to compensation and treatment for TD.