Generic Reglan makers released from Tardive Dyskinesia lawsuit

Wyeth, Inc. and Schwarz Pharma Inc. have been dismissed from a lawsuit filed in Texas involving the drug company’s Reglan (metoclopramide), a medicine used to treat gastrointestinal conditions. The lawsuit alleged that the drug caused the plaintiff to develop a severe movement disorder known as Tardive Dyskinesia. However, the case will proceed against Activis-Elizabeth, L.L.C., makers of a generic version of metoclopramide that the plaintiff was taking.

Wyeth and Schwarz originally developed the brand-name metoclopramide, Reglan. They were released from litigation by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone. The case is expected to be ready for trial by January 2011.

Metoclopramide is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1989 to treat gastrointestinal conditions such as severe heartburn, gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) and gastroparesis, or delayed emptying of the stomach contents. Over the years, the FDA has received numerous reports of users of metoclopramide suffering from Tardive Dyskinesia, and last year the agency issued a black box warning on metoclopramide products warning users that long-term use of the drug – 12 weeks or more – considerably raised one’s risk of developing the movement disorder.

Tardive Dyskinesia is a condition in which a person develops involuntary movements of his muscles. These movements include lip smacking, tongue thrusting, eye blinking and bulging, head jerking, facial grimacing, pucker and pursing of the lips, and involuntary movements of the fingers. Symptoms often continue even after the drug has been discontinued. To date, several lawsuits have been filed in courts throughout the U.S. against the makers of Reglan and generic metoclopramide.