Ranitidine, aka Zantac, is an H2 blocker. Physicians use it to treat gastrointestinal problems like GERD, acid reflux, and peptic ulcers. The medication prevents histamine H2-receptors from stimulating the stomach lining cells that generate stomach acid. Therefore, it lowers gastric acid concentration in the stomach.
Mechanism of Action
When histamine attaches to the H2-receptors in the stomach lining, it stimulates the cells in the stomach lining to produce acid. Ranitidine, an H2 receptor antagonist, binds the stomach lining receptors. It inhibits the receptors from initiating gastric acid production. The medication also indirectly minimizes pepsin secretion.
Its gastric acid reduction ability makes Ranitidine the perfect compound physicians prescribe to relieve gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcers, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome symptoms.
Ranitidine treats different types of digestive disorders that affect the gastrointestinal system. Here are some gastrointestinal conditions the medication treats.
- Acid Reflux: Ranitidine treats acid reflux, a condition where the stomach acid reverses its flow into the esophagus leading to symptoms like heartburn.
- Peptic Ulcers: Physicians also use the medication to treat peptic ulcers (sores that develop in the stomach lining or the first section of the small intestine).
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Ranitidine also treats GERD (a long-term condition wherein stomach acid flows back into the esophagus). GERD leads to inflammation and various other complications along the gastrointestinal tract.
Consumption and Dosage
Ranitidine typically comes as an oral tablet. It comes in the form of a capsule or tablet. Therefore, one has to take it orally before it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The medication travels to the stomach to exert its effects. But it will pass through the liver for metabolization and gets excreted from the body via the kidneys.
Ranitidine dosage level will depend on the condition the doctor is treating. The patient’s age, weight, and medical history will also play a crucial role when creating a dosage plan for the patient.
Here is a guideline for dosage levels for different gastrointestinal conditions.
- Acid Reflux/GERD: Adults can take 150mg twice a day or 300 mg once a day for GERD and mild to moderate cases of erosive esophagitis treatment. Take the medication before going to bed. A child’s dosage level often varies depending on the child’s weight and age.
- Peptic Ulcers: Adults can take 150 mg twice a day. Alternatively, an adult can take one 300 mg tablet/ capsule before bedtime. Children’s dosage level, on the other hand, will depend on their weight and age.
- Gastric ulcers: Adults can take 150 mg twice daily or take 300 mg before heading to bed for 6-8 weeks.
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and other hypersecretory conditions: Adults can begin with an oral dosage of 150 mg twice daily and gradually increase the dosage level to a maximum of 6 grams daily. The increment will vary depending on an individual’s requirements. It is crucial to adhere to the recommended dosage and monitor any changes in response to the medication.
It is vital to follow the instructions listed on the package or advised by the doctor to ensure the safe and effective use of the medication. One can consume it with or without food. The frequency of intake may vary depending on the severity of symptoms and the targeted condition. The treatment duration may also differ depending on the individual’s response to the medication and illness.
- GERD and mild to moderate cases of erosive esophagitis treatment – Their Ranitidine treatment cycle can vary from 4-12 weeks depending on the severity and the patient’s response to treatment.
- Duodenal ulcers – The duration of treatment is typically 4-8 weeks.
- Gastric ulcers – The duration of treatment is typically 6-8 weeks.
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and other hypersecretory conditions – Treatment duration may be long-term or lifelong, depending on the underlying condition.
Benefits of Ranitidine
Some benefits you can expect to see when taking Ranitidine include the.
- Relief of heartburn and acid reflux: Many individuals suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) find relief from symptoms like heartburn, acid reflux, and other unpleasant sensations.
- Stomach ulcer prevention: It prevents sores in the stomach because the medication decreases acid concentration. It can effectively hinder the development of ulcers in both the stomach and intestines.
- Treatment of stomach or intestinal ulcers: Ranitidine treats existing stomach or intestinal ulcers.
- Reduction of stomach acid during anesthesia: physicians often give patients Ranitidine before surgery to reduce the acid produced in the stomach. The acid reduction prevents complications during the procedure.
Like any medication, ranitidine can cause side effects. Some of the usual adverse reactions linked to this medication are as follows:
- Diarrhea and Constipation
- Stomach pain
- Blurred vision
In rare cases, ranitidine can cause more severe side effects like
- Liver damage
- Blood disorders
- Allergic reactions
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a rare but severe skin response)
Precautions To Consider
You need to inform your doctor of any allergies, medical conditions, or medications they are currently taking before taking Ranitidine. Also, consider these precautions before taking the medication.
- It is advisable to refrain from drinking alcohol when using ranitidine. Alcohol increases your chance of experiencing adverse effects.
- Ensure you inform your doctor if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant. The use of ranitidine when pregnant or breastfeeding may not be safe.
- Ensure you stick to the recommended dose to avoid potential side effects. Exceeding your dosage level can increase the risk of experiencing severe side effects.
- Notify your healthcare provider if you experience side effects like headache, diarrhea, nausea, or abdominal pain while taking ranitidine.
- You must also inform the doctor if you are allergic to ranitidine. You should never take Ranitidine if you are allergic to it or one of its ingredients.
- Inform your doctor about all other medications, supplements, or vitamins you are taking before starting your dose. Your doctor will help you create an intake plan to prevent unwanted interactions between ranitidine and other drugs.
You reduce your chances of developing an adverse reaction to Ranitide if you take these precautions seriously.
It is also vital to consult with your healthcare provider regarding any questions or concerns about taking ranitidine.