ZANTAC (ranitidine hydrochloride)
What is Zantac?
Zantac is a type of drug known as a histamine receptor antagonist,
or H2 blocker. Zantac is intended for short-term relief of gastroesophageal
reflux disease (GERD) and certain stomach and duodenal ulcers. It
can also be used to heal erosive esophagitis, the damage to the esophagus
caused by reflux. Zantac is a GERD treatment that is also safe for
children as young as one month old. It is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline
and is available by prescription only. Further information can be
found at the manufacturer's website, www.gsk.com.
How does Zantac work?
Histamine is a naturally occurring substance in the body. It has
several functions. There are 2 types of receptors capable of binding
histamine. Type 1 receptors are involved in allergic reactions.
Type 2 (H2) receptors play a role in acid production. Whenever histamine
binds to an H2 receptor, it increases stomach acid production. H2
blockers, also called acid reducers, work by reducing the acidity
of the stomach juices. Gastric reflux is the backwards movement
of stomach contents into the esophagus (swallowing tube). With less
acidity, reflux is less irritating to the stomach and esophagus.
H2 blockers treat the symptoms of heartburn, but don’t treat
the reflux. You should also make diet and lifestyle changes to reduce
the occurrence of heartburn.
If you and your doctor decide on a course of Zantac to treat GERD,
your doctor will probably prescribe 150 mg (one tablet) twice daily
to be taken with a full glass of water. Children are prescribed
smaller doses based on their weight. Zantac will typically begin
providing relief within 24 hours of the first dose. You may have
to take the medicine for a period of time to achieve the most benefit.
Zantac is available in a variety of forms, including tablets, powder
to be mixed with water, and syrup. About 40% of people who take
the drugs as prescribed experience significant relief of their GERD
Side effects include headache, dizziness, constipation, diarrhea,
nausea, and vomiting. If you have a more serious reaction, including
difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, or a yellowing of the
skin and eyes, you should call your doctor immediately.
Who should use Zantac?
Zantac is safe for adults, the elderly, and children from one month to sixteen years old.
Zantac is most effective for people with mild to moderate GERD. People with more severe symptoms may require treatment with proton pump inhibitors or other types of medication.
Who should use Zantac?
Zantac is contraindicated (should not be taken) by people who are allergic or hypersensitive to any component in the drug. Patients with gastric cancer may have improvement in symptoms while taking Zantac.
Pregnant women should not take Zantac unless necessary. Although it is unlikely to harm a fetus, studies have not conclusively shown it to be safe. Zantac does pass into breast milk, so women who are breastfeeding should not take Zantac unless a careful assessment of risks and benefits is undertaken with your physician
It also contains phenylalanine, which should not be used by patients diagnosed with phenylketonuria. Additionally, patients with porphyria may experience worsening of their symptoms when taking Zantac. Zantac should be used with caution in patients with liver and/or kidney disease. Zantac may cause one or more side-effects.
Frequently asked questions about Zantac
Does Zantac interact negatively with other drugs?
It is safe to take most over-the-counter painkillers and antacids
while taking Zantac. However, you should wait at least one hour
after taking Zantac before taking an antacid, as antacids can decrease
the effectiveness of Zantac. If you are taking Halcion or a blood
thinner such as Coumadin, you may not be able to take Zantac. To
be safe, please talk with your doctor about any medications, vitamins,
and supplements you use before taking Zantac.
Certain medications are absorbed in an acidic environment. These
medicines should not be used with Zantac
Drinking alcohol while on Zantac can significantly increase your
blood alcohol level and impair your driving ability.
What else should I know about H2 blockers?
H2 blockers have been prescribed for decades to treat heartburn
and other conditions. However, they are less effective than proton
pump inhibitors in treating GERD, especially severe cases. Talk
with your doctor about the best treatment for your frequent heartburn.