Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Ranitidine

Ranitidine is prescribed to treat ulcers of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach, the duodenum.

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Ranitidine is the active ingredient of CPL Alliance Ranitidine, Histak, R-Loc, Ranihexal, Ranit, Simayla Ranitidine, Ultak and, Zantac.

General information

Ranitidine is prescribed to treat ulcers of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach, the duodenum. It is also effective in treating gastro-oesophageal reflux, the backward flow of stomach acid contents into the oesophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. Ranitidine is furthermore prescribed for patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a rare condition associated with a tumour that creates high levels of stomach acid secretion.

Ranitidine may interact with liver enzymes responsible for breaking down various other medications. Because of this, levels of these medications may reach toxic levels in the body, causing a variety of side effects. If you are taking any other medication, consult your doctor or pharmacist before combining it with ranitidine.

Compared to similar drugs (other H2 -receptor antagonists such as cimetidine), ranitidine is less inclined to enter the brain. As a result, CNS-related effects such as drowsiness, and so forth, may be less. It furthermore has less potential for drug interactions.

How does ranitidine work?

Ranitidine blocks the release of stomach acid by binding to histamine receptors in the cells of the stomach wall. By reducing levels of gastric acid, it promotes healing of ulcers and acid-related inflammation. Ranitidine also blocks the synthesis of the digestive enzyme pepsin, which together with gastric acid, cause duodenal ulceration.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 2 (some 75mg products); schedule 4

Available as: ranitidine is available as tablets, syrup, effervescent tablets and injection

What does it do? ranitidine has an acid reducing effect in the stomach

Overdose risk: low

Dependence risk: low

Is ranitidine available as a generic? yes

Is ranitidine available on prescription only? yes (some)

User information

Onset of effect: within 1 hour

Duration of action: up to 12 hours

Dietary advice: avoid foods that cause irritation of the stomach such as citrus fruit and juice, caffeine and carbonated drinks.

Stopping this medicine: do not discontinue this medication without consulting your doctor, even if you begin to feel better. Symptoms may recur with premature stoppage.

Prolonged use: ranitidine is not generally used for longer than 2 months continuously. Only continue for longer on the advice of your doctor.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you are allergic to Ranitidine or similar drugs
  • you have kidney or liver disease
  • you are taking other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant

Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 16.

The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as adverse reactions may be more likely; a reduced dose may be needed.

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or extreme fatigue. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: avoid as alcohol may aggravate the condition being treated.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

headache

x

x

fatigue

x

x

dizziness/ drowsiness

x

x

nausea/ vomiting

x

x

abdominal pain/ diarrhoea

x

x

blurred vision

x

x

decreased libido

x

x

swelling of breasts (men)

x

x

hallucinations

x

x

depression

x

x

insomnia

x

x

skin rash/ irritation

x

x

heart palpitations

x

x

fever/ chills

x

x

unusual bruising

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

warfarin

increased risk of bleeding

benzodiazepines

risk of benzodiazepine toxicity

cisapride

risk of ranitidine toxicity

clarithromycin

risk of ranitidine toxicity

phenytoin

reduced effect of ranitidine

propantheline

risk of ranitidine toxicity

sucralfate

reduced effect of ranitidine

theophylline

risk of theophylline toxicity

tobacco smoke

reduced effect of ranitidine; slow healing of ulcer

ketoconazole

reduced efficacy of ketoconazole

Food interactions

Avoid foods that cause irritation of the stomach such as citrus fruit and juice, caffeine and carbonated drinks.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults:

300mg daily for 4 - 12 weeks

Interesting fact

Smoking may increase stomach acid secretion and should preferably be stopped before treatment with ranitidine starts.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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