Treating Gastritis in Cats with Metoclopramide (Reglan)

Reglan (metoclopramide) is a medication used to help treat gastritis in cats, a condition that can cause a cat’s stomach to feel upset.

Gastritis in Cats Explained

Gastritis in cats is inflammation of the stomach, which can also lead to erosion and irritation in the lining of this organ. This illness can be acute (which happens suddenly) or chronic (occurring over a period of time). Gastritis has several causes like allergies, kidney or liver failure, toxicity, trauma, medication side effects, ulcers, tumors, bile reflux, pernicious anemia and helicobacter pylori.

Treating Gastritis in Cats with Metoclopramide 

Treatment for gastritis often includes taking Reglan, a common prescription for cats to help calm the stomach and manage nausea. The function of Reglan is to increase the contractions of the stomach and the top of a cat’s small intestines without making digestive enzymes start to secrete.

Reglan is currently not approved by the FDA for use in animals, but is prescribed by veterinarians as an extra-label drug. Cats are typically administered 5 mg or 10 mg Reglan pills or can be given 1 mg/ml of syrup. Reglan injections are also available in 5 mg/ml doses. Reglan should be given to a cat 30 minutes prior to feeding and it usually takes several days to weeks for one to notice the effects of this drug in a cat. If one forgets to give a cat a dose of Reglan, it should be administered as soon as possible. One shouldn’t stop administering Raglan without first consulting a cat’s vet. While a cat is taking Reglan, blood and urine samples may be needed to test his liver and kidney functions.

The Side Effects of Reglan and Other Precautions

The active ingredients of Raglan are metoclopramide (a drug that is anti-emetic) and prokinetic. Reglan is also marketed under different names: Degan, Maxeran, Maxolon, Primperan and Pylomid. The most common side effects of Reglan reported are vomiting, constipation, nausea, disorientation, low blood pressure, rash, hives, diarrhea, restlessness, sedation, and an increase in a cat’s frequency of urination. Reports have also stated that a cat’s behavior may change and he may become more anxious, frenzied, and his mental status could alter. The more serious side effects that acquire immediate medical attention are seizures, dark urine, yellowing of the eyes or skin, irregular heartbeat, and unbalanced coordination.

Reglan does have known drug interactions with insulin, atropine, digoxin, tetracycline and cimetidine. Since this drug is used to increase the process of stomach content, it can affect the absorption of other drugs. One should always make sure a veterinarian knows all of the medications a cat is taking so negative interactions don’t occur.

Cats with a history of seizures, pheochromocytoma, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, porphyria, liver and kidney problems, and low levels of enzymes shouldn’t take Reglan. This drug should also not be used to help pass gastrointestinal obstructions.

While a cat is taking Reglan to treat gastritis, he should be given the full amount of medicine prescribed by a veterinarian, even if he feels better, to help prevent a relapse in his condition or a resistance to the drug.