Ranitidine (Zantac) is a histamine (H2) blocker used to reduce acid secretion in the stomach. It is used to treat acid reflux (heartburn) or peptic ulcer disease. This page contains information on what Ranitidine is, how it works, ingredients, side effects, and Q&A. If you suffer from acid reflux, also known as heartburn, doctors at Medzino can issue a prescription for Ranitidine 150mg.
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Written by Dr Yasmin Aghajan, MD
Information last reviewed 08/05/19
Ranitidine (or Zantac) is an anti-acid medication used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn. It is available over the counter or with a prescription. Ranitidine is one of the first-line medications used to treat GERD, esophagitis, heartburn and is generally well tolerated. Historically, it was one of the most popular medications in the US.
Acid reflux is a very common condition. Classic symptoms include burning pain in the stomach and mid-chest area, often after eating or worse when lying down, as food and stomach acid travels up into the esophagus.
Ranitidine is used to treat acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD), esophagitis, and stomach ulcers.
Ranitidine belongs to a class of medications called “H2 blockers”, which decreases gastric acid secretion in the stomach cells. Over time, acid can erode the esophagus and cause inflammation and ulcers. By decreasing the amount of stomach acid, the stomach and the esophagus are allowed to heal, and symptoms are relieved.
Ranitidine is effective at reducing symptoms of moderate or severe GERD. However, it is generally less effective than its competitor PPI (proton pump inhibitor) medications such as Omeprazole or Lansoprazole. In one study, a greater proportion of Omeprazole-treated patients (70%) experienced no more than mild heartburn compared with Ranitidine-treated patients (49%) after 8 weeks. Also, more patients in the Omeprazole group experienced complete resolution of heart-burn (46%) than in the Ranitidine group (16%).
Approximately 2-3 hours after it is taken, Ranitidine achieves high enough levels in the blood to start working. If you continue taking it regularly, you should start to feel the results sooner after taking your dose (usually 1-2 hours after, and lasting up to 12 hours).
Ranitidine contains the active ingredient ranitidine hydrochloride at a concentration of 150mg, or 300mg, depending upon the strength of the tablet.
Ranitidine also contains the following inactive ingredients: Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, titanium dioxide, triacetin, and yellow iron oxide
Always take Ranitidine exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
For mild and intermittent symptoms (<2 episodes per week) Ranitidine can be taken at a dose of 75mg or 150mg twice daily as needed. If symptoms are not relieved by 75mg twice daily, the dose can be increased to 150mg twice daily for a maximum dose of 300mg per day.
For people with kidney disease, the dose is reduced to a maximum of 150mg per day.
If a dose is missed and it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you forgot and take the one that is due. Do not double the doses.
The treatment for acid reflux usually lasts between 4 and 8 weeks, but may vary depending on your doctor’s recommendation. Also, lifestyle changes such as weight loss and diet changes may help with symptoms.
For mild and intermittent symptoms (<2 episodes per week):
For people with kidney disease, the dose is reduced to a maximum of 150mg per day.
Ranitidine even in larger quantities than prescribed generally does not have severe dangerous side effects, however, it is safest to always call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or seek immediate medical attention to ensure that this is the case.
Skip the missed dose, and resume the next dose at the next planned time. Do not double up to make up for the missed dose.
Improvement in symptoms with Ranitidine does not exclude the possibility of having stomach cancer, and you should see a doctor periodically to monitor symptoms. Since Ranitidine is removed by the kidney, the dose needs to be reduced in patients with kidney disease. Avoid Ranitidine if you have a history of acute porphyria. Rare cases of reversible confusion have been reported in elderly patients. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been reported in prolonged treatment (>2 years).
Stop taking these tablets and tell your doctor immediately if you experience an allergic reaction such as swelling of the tongue/throat/face, difficulty breathing, rash, difficulty swallowing.
Notify your doctor if you have frequent chest pain; frequent wheezing particularly with heartburn; nausea/vomiting; unexplained weight loss; stomach pain; heartburn longer than 3 months; heartburn with light-headedness, sweating, or dizziness; chest pain or shoulder pain with shortness of breath; sweating or pain that spreads to arms, neck, or shoulders; light-headedness. Stop use and notify your health care provider if heartburn continues, worsens, or lasts longer than 14 days.
Some possible common side effects include:
The co-administration of Ranitidine with other medicines may interact with the effects of Ranitidine, or these other medicines. This is the list of medications that are known to interact with Ranitidine. Always inform your doctor of all the drugs and supplements you take.
It is contraindicated to take Ranitidine in the following cases:
If you are allergic to ranitidine hydrochloride or any other ingredients in Ranitidine (see ingredients)
If you have trouble or pain when swallowing food, vomiting with blood, or bloody or black stools, allergic reaction to ranitidine or other acid reducers.
Do not use with other acid reducers. Do not use 150 mg tablet with kidney disease without medical advice.
Ranitidine does cross the placenta. However, if needed, Ranitidine is the agent of choice for GERD during pregnancy. Ask your doctor before use if pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Ranitidine is excreted into breast milk. The manufacturer recommends caution be used if taking Ranitidine while breastfeeding. It is best to ask your doctor if this medication is safe and necessary during breastfeeding.
If you still haven’t had relief of symptoms after 2-4 weeks of therapy, you should talk to your doctor about switching to a different class of medications. In addition, if symptoms are persistent, you should see your doctor in person to ensure there is no underlying structural issue with the stomach or duodenum that requires further evaluation (such as an endoscopy).
Ranitidine does not have to be taken with, before, or after food. However, when taken 30-60 minutes before food, it can help prevent the symptoms of heartburn associated with eating.
Ranitidine was first introduced to the market in 1981.
Ranitidine was invented in the 1970s and brought to the market in 1981. By 1987 it was the world’s largest selling prescription drug. Now, it is being surpassed by the more popular proton pump inhibitors.
Ranitidine is available as a generic medication from multiple manufacturers such as Mylan, Sandoz, Teva, Riva, and others. However, the original Ranitidine, or Zantac, is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
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