People who suffer from heartburn, GERD or diabetic gastroparesis are often prescribed metoclopramide, known in the U.S. by the brand name Reglan, to treat their condition. Recent warnings issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, may make those individuals consider natural alternatives before turning to pharmaceuticals.
Earlier this year the FDA placed a black box warning – the sternest warning it can require –on Reglan after reports of users of Reglan began suffering from a serious and debilitating involuntary movement disorder known as Tardive Dyskinesia. Those who suffer from the condition develop involuntary movements of the muscles, such as lip smacking, tongue thrusting, eye blinking and bulging, head jerking, facial grimacing, puckering and pursing of the lips, and involuntary movements of the fingers.
Those who take Reglan for more than 12 weeks are at greater risk of developing Tardive Dyskinesia, thus the new labeling advises against long-term use except in rare cases where the benefit outweighs the risks.
Given the black box warning now on Reglan, sufferers of digestive problems may want to turn to old-fashioned, natural alternatives. For example, ginger root aides in digestion and licorice root soothes mucous membranes along the GI tract. Peppermint settles the stomach and aides in the production of saliva. And Rubarb works to rid excessive mucous in the intestines.
For more information, visit your local health food store. And always be sure to discuss any medication or diet changes with your health care provider.