Reglan Statute of Limitations May Be Approaching in Many Cases

Time may be running out for many people throughout the United States to pursue a Reglan lawsuit over the development of tardive dyskinesia or other movement disorders from the gastrointestinal medication, as the two year state of limitations in many states may bar claims that are not filed within the next four months. 

The FDA required the manufacturers of Reglan and other generic metoclopramide drugs to add a “black box” warning in February 2009 about the increased risk of tardive dyskinesia from Reglan when the medication is used at high doses for a long period of time.

Since about half of the states in the country require that claims be filed within two years, it is possible that the Reglan statute of limitations will expire in February 2011 for many unfiled cases where individuals developed the severe and socially debilitating movement disorder.

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Reglan, which is known generically as metoclopramide, is approved for the short-term treatment of gastrointestinal disorders like diabetic gastroparesis, gastroesphageal reflux (GERD) and delayed gastric emptying. However, it is often prescribed for longer periods of time due to the often chronic persistence of those ailments, which has been shown to increase the risk of the movement disorders.

Long-term use of Reglan has been linked to an increased risk of tardive dyskinesia, which is associated with repetitive and involuntary movements, particularly involving the lower face and limbs. Symptoms can include grimacing, chewing, smacking of lips, rapid eye movements and impaired finger movements. There is no known effective treatment of the disorder, and involuntary movements can become permanent, persisting even after use of the drug has stopped.

While the first tardive dyskinesia lawsuit over Reglan was filed in 1998, the number of cases has increased since the FDA required a “black box” warning be added.

The Reglan lawsuits all involve similar allegations that the manufacturers of the name brand medication or generic equivalents failed to adequately research the tardive dyskinesia side effects of Reglan or adequately warn about the risks associated with long-term use, which can have a devastating impact on an individual’s quality of life.

It is unknown exactly how many cases are involved in the Reglan litigation, as there is no centralized management for the cases filed in federal court, and a number of different drug makers are involved in different cases. In June 2009, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation denied a request to consolidate the Reglan cases in an MDL. Therefore, all of the federal cases are currently proceeding in different courts throughout the country with different scheduling orders and trial dates.

In July, the New Jersey Supreme Court did approved the centralized management of all Reglan lawsuits filed in the state. As of September, more than 50 Reglan suits had been transferred to Judge Carol Higbee in Atlantic County, with about half of those cases having been filed since the litigation was centralized. The statute of limitations for Reglan in New Jersey is two years, and the number of cases is expected to increase dramatically in the coming months.

Although time is running out on many people’s ability to pursue a claim, Reglan lawyers are continuing to review and investigate potential claims for individuals diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia after taking Reglan or for those who have experienced symptoms consistent with the movement disorder.

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