"I'm mostly angry because I wasn't informed of side effect possibilities, which were known."
When the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated a black box warning for metoclopramide (Reglan), the agency urged the medical community to inform patients.
Tennant received one of those letters. "I received a letter dated April 30 from my GI's office noting the FDA has placed a Black Box Warning on Reglan, explaining, it's possibly linked 'with the development of a condition known as tardive dyskinesia, a permanent condition that's untreatable.' Why didn't my gastroenterologist warn me? Why didn't he give me a choice? Why, when I called him noting I was having tremors, did he recommend I cut the dosage in half? Why did I have to insist on an appointment to discuss my failing health?"
Tennant reports that she didn't even realize she was smacking her lips—a common trait associated with tardive dyskinesia—until a family member brought it to her doctor's attention. "I thought a gland was overproducing saliva. At that time, the doctor said: 'You are allergic to Reglan—don't take it again.' It was too late to stop some lip smacking and other disorders.
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She writes that an acquaintance, prescribed Reglan for digestive disorders, was admitted to hospital within 12 hours of her first dose of metoclopramide.
Reglan is approved by the FDA for short-term use only (four to 12 weeks), after which the risk for tardive dyskinesia spikes. However, the adverse reaction can emerge any time within the aforementioned window of safety. Additionally, 30 percent of patients suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), heartburn and acid reflux disease take Reglan for 12 months or longer, which increases the risk of tardive dyskinesia.