How does metoclopramide work against nausea?

Metoclopramide is almost the classic anti-nausea medication. The active ingredient has been in use for decades and is still prescribed by many doctors. The best known is the preparation Paspertin®but there are many others as well.

Metoclopramide is a so-called Dopamine antagonist. This means that the agent inhibits the effects of dopamine ("agonist" would mean it boosts the effect). The body's own messenger dopamine has numerous complex effects. One of these is to slow down the passage of food in the stomach and, from a certain amount, to induce nausea.

Indirect dopamine inhibition

Metoclopramide does not inhibit dopamine directly, but indirectly, by occupying the receptors on the cells where dopamine normally docks and exerts its effect. The bottom line is that Metoclopramide leads to a faster gastrointestinal passage and reduces symptoms of nausea. The remedy is prescribed, among other things, for heartburn, irritable stomach, motion sickness, but also for nausea due to migraine, liver disease or adverse drug reactions.


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