European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 74, Issue 5, pp 627–636 | Cite as

Reported time to onset of neurological adverse drug reactions among different age and gender groups using metoclopramide: an analysis of the global database Vigibase®.

  • Kristian SvendsenEmail author
  • Mollie Wood
  • Erika Olsson
  • Hedvig Nordeng
Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription



Despite FDA and EMA warnings of long-term use, little is known regarding the time to onset (TTO) of neurological adverse drug reactions (ADR) for metoclopramide. The aims of this study were, first, to evaluate whether neurological ADRs are more commonly reported for metoclopramide than for other medications, and second, to describe how time to onset of neurological ADRs differs by age and gender.


All ADR reports with metoclopramide as the suspected/interacting drug were extracted from the WHOs Global ADR database Vigibase® between 1967 and May 2016. Cox proportional hazards models were fit using TTO of neurological ADRs as the outcome and age, gender, and type of ADR as predictors. Proportional Reporting Ratios (PRRs) for neurological ADRs were compared across age and gender. Lawyer reports were excluded in the analysis.


Over 47,000 ADR reports with metoclopramide were identified. Over one third (35.6%) of the reports came from lawyers. The majority of ADRs in general and neurological ADRs in specific occurred within the first 5 days of metoclopramide use (median 1 day). TTO increased with age. Neurological ADRs were reported two to four times as frequently for metoclopramide than for other drugs, with the highest PRRs observed in children (PRR = 4.24 for girls and 4.60 for boys).


Most adverse drug reactions occur within the first 5 days of treatment with metoclopramide. Patients requiring use of metoclopramide should be carefully monitored for neurological ADRs during the first days of treatment.


Metoclopramide Vigibase Adverse drug reactions 



The authors would like to thank the Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC), WHO’s Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring that provided and gave permission to use the data analyzed in the present study. The opinions and conclusions, however, are not those of the UMC or of the WHO.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement

Since the data received by the UMC is de-identified and furthermore the UMC did not provide any potentially identifiable variables such as narratives or patient initials, no ethical approval was needed.


The WHO database contains summary reports of individual suspected adverse reactions to medicines, received from national centers in countries participating in the WHO International Drug Monitoring Programme. No causality assessment is made at the Uppsala Monitoring Centre. Since these reports constitute suspicions of adverse drug reactions, further investigation and research is needed for a full interpretation of the data.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hospital Pharmacy of Tromsø, Sykehusapotek Nord HF, NorwayTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety Research Group, Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy & PharmaTox Strategic Initiative, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural SciencesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of Child HealthNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway

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