Ranitidine is a medicine that is available through a prescription or over-the-counter. This medicine belongs to a group of drugs known as histamine-2. These drugs work by helping to reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach.
Ranitidine is available in the form of an oral tablet and is used in treating and preventing stomach ulcers and ulcers present in the intestine.
Ranitidine also helps in treating conditions such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome where a lot of stomach acid is produced. This medicine also assists in treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other similar conditions where acid can back up the stomach and enter the oesophagus causing heartburn.
This medication can also be used as a part of combination therapy.
How It Works
Ranitidine, as mentioned above, belongs to a class of drugs that are known as histamine receptor antagonists. These class of drugs are a part of a medicine group that works similarly and are also used to treat similar medical conditions.
Ranitidine works by decreasing the acid levels present in your stomach. However, ranitidine is not an antacid. This is because ranitidine works by decreasing the level of acid produced by your stomach, whereas antacids help in neutralizing the acid already made by the stomach.
Just like every other medication, ranitidine also has some side effects. Some common side effects of this drug include:
- A headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach discomfort or pain
If these effects are mild and not very strong, then they may go away within a couple of days; however, if they become very persistent and start to worsen, then you must talk to your doctor.
Remember that you have been prescribed this medication because your doctor believes that the benefits of ranitidine are greater than the side effects.
Many users of this drug do not undergo any serious side effects; however. If you start to feel any of the following side effects, then visit your doctor immediately:
- Blurred vision
- Mental mood changes
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Enlarged breasts
- Severe tiredness
- Slow or irregular heartbeat
You may also undergo inflammation of the liver with symptoms that include tiredness, dark urine, stomach pain, and yellowing of the white areas of your eyes and skin.
Before using this drug, it is advised that you let your doctor know if you are allergic to this product or any other histamine-2 blockers such as famotidine and cimetidine. Also, tell your pharmacist of any other allergies you may have as this product contains inactive ingredients that may cause allergic reactions.
Before using ranitidine, make sure that your doctor is aware of your medical history, especially a history of immune system problems, blood disorders such as porphyria, liver problems, kidney problems, lung diseases that include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD, or any other stomach problems.
Some symptoms of this drug may indicate a more serious and dangerous condition so make sure that you get medical help right away in case of pain in the chest, arm, jaw, or shoulder, heartburn along with sweating and dizziness, and also an unexplained weight loss.
When giving this medicine to older adults, make sure to keep a check on them as they are more sensitive to side effects such as confusion.
Using this drug during pregnancy should only be done if needed. Make sure that you discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It can pass into breast milk so consult your physician about using this drug before breastfeeding.
Drugs to avoid when using Ranitidine
Oral tablets of ranitidine can interact with other vitamins, drugs, and herbal products and interaction can affect how the drug works and its effectiveness. Some interactions can also increase the chances of you being more susceptible to side effects.
Some examples of drugs that can interact with ranitidine include:
Avoid taking this medication when using ranitidine as this can lead to some dangerous effects. Ranitidine can also reduce the amount of delavirdine in your body; thus, it won’t work well.
Taking high amounts of ranitidine along with procainamide can lead to some serious side effects from both the drugs.
Taking warfarin with ranitidine can also increase your risk of getting blood clots and risk of bleeding.
- Midazolam and triazolam
Taking ranitidine with midazolam or triazolam can increase your levels of drowsiness, and this drowsiness can last for a long time.
Taking ranitidine with this drug can increase the chances of your getting low blood sugar. You will have to test your blood sugar before and after using ranitidine.
This drug can affect the effectiveness of ranitidine strongly, and if you need to take both these drugs together, then consult with your doctor when you should take these drugs and how long you must wait between the doses of these medicines.
If you are taking gefitinib and ranitidine along with antacid sodium bicarbonate, then gefitinib may not work completely. Your doctor should know if you are taking these drugs together.
What to do in case of a missed dose?
If you miss a dose in between, then take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If you remember only a few hours before your next dose, then do not take two doses; instead, take a single dose and skip the missed dose.
Never take two doses at one time as this can lead to more dangerous side effects. If you take high amounts of this drug, then you may experience low blood pressure and trouble in walking.
To find out if the drug is working you must notice a decrease in stomach pain.