Ranitidine is used to treat ulcers of the stomach and intestines and prevent them from coming back after they have healed. This medication is also used to treat certain stomach and throat (esophagus) problems (such as erosive esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease-GERD, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome). It works by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach makes. It relieves symptoms such as cough that doesn't go away, stomach pain, heartburn, and difficulty swallowing. Ranitidine belongs to a class of drugs known as H2 blockers.
This medication is also available without a prescription. It is used to prevent and treat heartburn and other symptoms caused by too much acid in the stomach (acid indigestion). If you are taking this medication for self-treatment, it is important to read the manufacturer's package instructions carefully so you know when to consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Zantac is used to treat and prevent ulcers in the stomach and intestines. It also treats conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Zantac is also used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other conditions in which acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice daily. It may be prescribed 4 times a day for some conditions. If you are taking this medication once daily, it is usually taken after the evening meal or before bedtime.
The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to therapy. In children, dosage may also be based on body weight. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. You may take other medications (e.g., antacids) for your condition as recommended by your doctor.
Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. Do not increase your dose or take it more often than prescribed. Do not stop taking this without your doctor's approval because this may delay healing of the ulcer.
If you are using nonprescription ranitidine for self-treatment of acid indigestion or heartburn, take 1 tablet by mouth with a glass of water as needed. To prevent heartburn, take 1 tablet by mouth with a glass of water 30-60 minutes before eating food or drinking beverages that cause heartburn. Do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hours unless directed by your doctor. Do not take for more than 14 days in a row without talking with your doctor.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Using Zantac may increase your risk of developing pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia include chest pain, fever, feeling short of breath, and coughing up green or yellow mucus. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk of developing pneumonia.
Before taking ranitidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other H2 blockers (e.g., cimetidine, famotidine); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: a certain blood disorder (porphyria), immune system problems, kidney problems, liver problems, lung diseases (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), other stomach problems (e.g., tumors).
Heartburn is often confused with the first symptoms of a heart attack. Seek emergency medical help if you have chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, and a general ill feeling.
In addition, before you self-treat with this medication, get medical help right away if you have any of these signs of a serious condition: trouble/pain swallowing food, bloody vomit, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, bloody/black stools, heartburn for over 3 months, frequent chest pain, frequent wheezing (especially with heartburn), nausea/vomiting, stomach pain.
Do not use to treat children younger than 12 unless directed by the doctor.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially confusion.
Ranitidine should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Ranitidine passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Headache, constipation or diarrhea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: blurred vision, mental/mood changes (e.g., agitation, confusion, depression, hallucinations), easy bleeding/bruising, enlarged breasts, severe tiredness, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills), severe stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing skin/eyes.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Use a specially marked spoon or container to measure each dose. Ask your pharmacist if you do not have one. Household spoons are not accurate. If you only take this medicine once a day, take it at bedtime. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Tell your doctor or health care professional if your condition does not start to get better or if they get worse. You may need to take this medicine for several days before your symptoms get better.
Do not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. These increase irritation in your stomach and can lengthen the time it will take for ulcers to heal. Cigarettes and alcohol can also make acid reflux or heartburn worse.
If you get black, tarry stools or vomit up what looks like coffee grounds, call your doctor or health care professional at once. You may have a bleeding ulcer.
This medicine may cause a decrease in vitamin B12. You should make sure that you get enough vitamin B12 while you are taking this medicine. Discuss the foods you eat and the vitamins you take with your health care professional.