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Zantac is a tried-and-trusted medication for treating heartburn and GERD

Zantac is a popular Rx medication, also available as over-the-counter generic drug ranitidine, designed to treat hyperacidity in patients with peptic ulcers, heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), erosive reflux esophagitis, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and other GI problems in which the stomach produces too much hydrochloric acid in gastric juice.

Active ingredient:
Intake time:
65 minutes
Acting time:
up to 3 hours
Avaliable dosages:
150mg, 300mg
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Disclaimer: Before taking any medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements or herbs, consult a physician for a thorough evaluation. We does not endorse any medications, vitamins or herbs. A qualified physician should make a decision based on each person's medical history and current prescriptions. The medication summaries provided do not include all of the information important for patient use and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

People, who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for their inflammation, fever, and pain and often experience unwanted side effects in the form of stomach damage, can take Zantac to prevent the adverse consequences of such treatment.

What is the mechanism of action of Zantac?

Zantac is in the class of medications called histamine-2 receptor antagonists or GI histamine blockers that decrease hyperacidity by blocking the release of histamine, which is heavily involved in the secretion of stomach acid.

Shortly after the person has had a meal, ‘G’ cells in their stomach lining start producing the hormone called gastrin, which in turn excites the production of histamine. When it binds to the H2 receptors, histamine initiates the discharge of gastric juice, or gastric acid, necessary to help process the food in the stomach. By not letting histamine bind to its receptors, Zantac helps decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach.

When taken 30-60 minutes before a meal, Zantac offers relatively quick relief of hyperacidity-related symptoms and can continue to produce its curative action for up another 6-10 hours after that. However, as soon as the effect of this medication wears off, some patients may experience a sudden relapse of their symptoms known as rebound acid hypersecretion.

How much Zantac to take?

Zantac and its generic version ranitidine are commercially available as oral pills, IV and IM injections, and effervescent tablets. Only your doctor can reliably determine the most suitable form of administration and dosage of Zantac, based on the type and severity of your medical condition, the presence of other concurrent problems with your health, your age, lifestyle, etc. Consult your prescribing physician before you start using Zantac or ranitidine for your heartburn and always take this medication exactly as advised by a licensed medical practitioner.

The usual recommended dose of Zantac oral tablets for adult patients is 300mg taken once daily at bedtime or split into two intakes of 150mg each – in the morning and after the patient has had his evening meal. If Zantac is prescribed as a maintenance medicine, adult patients are recommended taking 150mg once a day at the same time. The safe and suitable daily dose of Zantac for children is determined by the doctor individually for each patient.

Known side effects that Zantac can produce

The most regular side effects caused by taking Zantac may include such gastrointestinal symptoms as vomiting sickness, digestive trouble, constipation, and stomachache. Headache, inability to sleep, tenderness in the breasts, and decreased libido are also possible in patients who take Zantac. Often, these side effects are mild and short-lived and tend to disappear on their own after some time or upon symptomatic treatment.

More serious and potentially dangerous side effects that patients on Zantac may rarely notice are:

Any of these symptoms may indicate that the drug is unsuitable for you. If you notice the said adverse side effects, discontinue using Zantac and call your doctor immediately. If you cannot get ahold of your prescribing physician, seek urgent medical help in the nearest hospital. Do not try to self-medicate the symptoms.

Please note that the initial symptoms of certain serious and life-threatening health problems like a heart attack can sometimes be mistaken for heartburn. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor and seek urgent medical attention if you start feeling the tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, sudden and acute pain spreading from the chest to the arm or your shoulder, profuse sweating, labored breathing, and other signs of cardiac trouble.

Zantac may conceal early symptoms of digestive cancer that are very similar to the symptoms of non-cancerous stomach ulcers. Without proper clinical diagnostics and screening, patients who take Zantac to treat their peptic ulcer may overlook a more serious malignant problem and miss the right time to start the treatment. Never self-diagnose a gastric problem or self-prescribe any antiulcer medications to treat it. See your doctor for a proper consultation if you are bothered by any permanent dyspeptic symptoms.

Also, be informed that taking Zantac may raise the likelihood of developing pneumonia. Should you notice pain in the chest coupled with breathlessness or rapid and shallow breathing, fever, and cough, please let your prescribing physician know as soon as possible. Do not try to treat these symptoms yourself as it may put your health and life at great risk.

Which groups of patients should not use Zantac?

Zantac is an effective and potent medicine that provides quick, on-demand help with relieving symptoms of heartburn and reducing the damage excess acid can do to the stomach, duodenum, and food pipe. However, this medication is strictly not advised for use by some groups of patients, who are co-diagnosed with the following health problems:

While Zantac does not seem to affect negatively the development of a fetus, pregnant women, women who suspect they might be pregnant, and those planning pregnancy should always inform their medical practitioner about this before they take the medication.

The drug is excreted via breast milk so women, who are nourishing newborns, should avoid taking Zantac or do so with their doctor’s permission and under close supervision.

Known and possibly unsafe interactions that Zantac can have with other drugs

Your doctor needs to be timely informed about all prescription and over-the-counter medications, herbal or dietary supplements, recreational drugs, and illegal substances that you are using to be able to accurately determine the safety and suitability of Zantac for your condition.

In particular, make sure that your physician knows if you are taking the following medications:

Also, do not consume alcohol while you are undergoing a course of treatment with Zantac, as alcohol stimulates the excessive production of stomach acid and can damage the stomach lining and aggravate your symptoms.

Which changes to the diet does Zantac require?

The use of Zantac does not require patients to make any specific changes to their diet. The medication can be taken with almost any food and drinks, except for alcohol. Co-administering Zantac with alcohol increases the possibility of stomach damage.

Also, patients who suffer from peptic ulcers and GERD may improve the efficiency of their treatment if they temporarily cut some foods out of their diets. Your prescribing physician will tell you more about what protective dietary regimen can be most beneficial for your condition.

Important warnings associated with the use of Zantac and its generics

The Food and Drug Administration last year released a warning alerting patients and physicians worldwide that ranitidine might contain low levels of a potentially carcinogenic chemical known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

The levels found in the medication were not much higher than the levels of NDMA that people can get with grilled meat; therefore, the FDA did not insist on discontinuing prescriptions for the drug or recalling it from the shelves of the pharmacies.

The brand manufacturer of Zantac and generic manufacturers of ranitidine say they do not plan to pause the production of this and other ranitidine-containing medicines until the ongoing investigation on the matter provides more details.

We remind that N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is an organic compound with pronounced hepatotoxicity and cancerogenity. It is detected in drinking water and some foods such as cured or grilled meat, dairy, certain vegetables. In high concentrations, NDMA may cause hepatic damage, liver tumors, and other forms of cancerous tumors in people.

Disclaimer: Please note that everything you see, read, or hear on this website is available for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or a substitute for a professional consultation given by a licensed medical practitioner. Remember that self-diagnosing a medical condition and self-prescribing any medications can be very dangerous. Only a licensed doctor can establish a proper diagnosis and assign a treatment that would be most suitable for your particular health problem. Please see your physician in person before you purchase and start using any medicinal and non-medicinal products from this or other Internet websites.