Ranitidine is used to treat ulcers of the stomach and intestines and prevent them from returning after treatment. This medication is also used to treat and prevent certain stomach and throat (esophagus) problems caused by too much stomach acid (e.g., Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, erosive esophagitis) or a backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus (gastroesophageal reflux disease-GERD).
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once or twice daily or as directed by your doctor. 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.
Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: easy bleeding/bruising, enlarged breasts, severe tiredness, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat, cough), severe stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing skin/eyes.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before taking ranitidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other H2 histamine 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: immune system problems, kidney problems, liver problems, lung diseases (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), other stomach problems (e.g., tumors).
Some symptoms may actually be signs of a more serious condition. Get medical help right away if you have: heartburn with lightheadedness/sweating/dizziness, chest/jaw/arm/shoulder pain (especially with shortness of breath, unusual sweating), unexplained weight loss.
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be at greater risk for side effects while using this drug. Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially confusion and dizziness.
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.
A product that may interact with this drug is: propantheline.
This medication decreases the amount of acid in your stomach. This can change the amount of medication absorbed from your stomach which may affect how these medications work. Examples of affected drugs include atazanavir, delavirdine, dasatinib, gefitinib, pazopanib, raltegravir, triazolam among others. Azole antifungals such as ketoconazole may also be affected.
Check the labels on all your medicines because they may contain aspirin or aspirin-like NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen) that can cause stomach irritation/ulcers. Ask your pharmacist about the safe use of those products. Low-dose aspirin, as prescribed by your doctor for specific medical reasons such as heart attack or stroke prevention (usually at dosages of 81-325 milligrams per day), should be continued. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
This medication and similar H2 histamine blockers (e.g., cimetidine, famotidine) are available both over-the-counter and by prescription. Do not take them at the same time.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (e.g., urine protein), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and your doctors know you use this drug.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include difficulty walking, severe dizziness/fainting.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction programs, stopping smoking, limiting alcohol, and diet changes (e.g., avoiding caffeine, certain spices) may increase the effectiveness of this medication. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., endoscopy, kidney function tests) may be performed to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store in a tightly closed container at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from moisture and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised January 2015. Copyright(c) 2015 First Databank, Inc.
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