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Ranitidine, Oral Tablet

Highlights

  1. Ranitidine is available as both a generic and brand-name drug. Brand name(s): Zantac.
  2. Ranitidine is used to treat intestinal and stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and conditions where your stomach makes too much acid, including a rare condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. This drug is also used to heal acid-related damage to the lining of the esophagus.
  3. Ranitidine comes as a tablet, capsule, or syrup that you take by mouth.
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About

What is ranitidine?

Ranitidine is a drug that’s available in a prescription form and an over-the-counter form. Prescription ranitidine comes as an oral tablet, oral capsule, or oral syrup.

Ranitidine oral tablet is available as the brand-name drug Zantac. All prescription forms are available as generic drugs. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Why it’s used

Ranitidine is used to treat several conditions, including:

Ranitidine may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Ranitidine is typically used for short-term treatment, especially for GERD. If you’re taking this drug for other conditions, you may need long-term treatment. You may need to take it for several weeks or months.

How it works

Ranitidine works by reducing the amount of acid in your stomach. It belongs to a class of drugs called histamine receptor antagonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

  • Is ranitidine considered an antacid?
  • No. Ranitidine works by reducing the amount of acid your stomach makes. Antacids, on the other hand, neutralize the acid that your stomach has already made.

    - The Healthline Medical Team
  • Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Side effects

Ranitidine side effects

Ranitidine oral tablet may cause drowsiness as well as other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of ranitidine oral tablet can include:

  • headache
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • stomach discomfort or pain

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • inflammation of your liver, with symptoms such as:
    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
    • tiredness
    • dark urine
    • stomach pain
  • changes in your brain function, with symptoms such as:
    • confusion
    • agitation
    • depression
    • hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that isn’t there)
    • blurry vision
  • abnormal heart rate, with symptoms such as:
    • fast heart rate
    • tiredness
    • shortness of breath

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

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Interactions

Ranitidine may interact with other medications

Ranitidine oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.

Drugs you should not use with ranitidine

Delavirdine: Do not take delavirdine with ranitidine. Doing so can cause dangerous effects. Ranitidine reduces the levels of delavirdine in your body. This means your delavirdine won’t work as well.

Interactions that increase your risk of side effects

Taking ranitidine with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from these drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

Procainamide: Taking high doses of ranitidine with procainamide can cause side effects from procainamide.

Warfarin: Taking ranitidine with warfarin may increase your risk of bleeding or blood clots. Your doctor may watch you more closely if you’re taking these drugs together.

Midazolam and triazolam: Taking ranitidine with either of these drugs raises your risk of extreme drowsiness that can last a long time.

Glipizide: Taking these drugs together can increase your risk for low blood sugar. You may need to test your blood sugar or test it more often when starting or stopping ranitidine.

Interactions that can make your drugs less effective

When certain drugs are used with ranitidine, they may not work as well. This is because the amount of these drugs in your body may be decreased. Examples of these drugs include:

Atazanavir: If you need to take these drugs together, your doctor will tell you how long you should wait between doses of these medications.

Gefitinib: If you take gefitinib and ranitidine with the antacid sodium bicarbonate, gefitinib may not work as well. Talk to your doctor if you’re taking gefitinib and ranitidine.

To find out how ranitidine might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Warnings

Ranitidine warnings

Ranitidine oral tablet comes with several warnings.

Allergies

Ranitidine can cause a severe allergic reaction. If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • fever
  • rash

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could cause death.

Warnings for certain groups

For people with kidney problems: If you have kidney problems or a history of kidney disease, you may not be able to clear this drug from your body well. This may increase the levels of ranitidine in your body and cause more side effects.

For people with liver problems: If you have liver problems or a history of liver disease, you may not be able to process this drug well. This may increase the levels of ranitidine in your body and cause more side effects.

For people with acute porphyria (an inherited blood disorder): You shouldn’t use this drug if you have a history of an acute porphyria attack. This drug can trigger an acute porphyric attack.

For people with gastric cancer: This drug reduces the amount of acid in your stomach. This can help improve the symptoms of your gastrointestinal condition. However, if your symptoms are caused by a cancerous gastric tumor, you may still have the tumor. This drug does not treat cancer.

For seniors: The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. In rare cases, this drug may cause confusion, agitation, depression, and hallucinations. These problems happen most often in seniors who are very ill.

For children: Ranitidine has not been confirmed as safe and effective in children younger than 1 month for any condition. Ranitidine has not been confirmed as safe and effective in people younger than 18 years for conditions where the stomach makes too much acid. These conditions include Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

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Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Ranitidine during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Research in animals has not shown that this drug poses a risk to the pregnancy. However, animal studies do not always predict the way humans would respond. And there aren’t enough studies of this drug in pregnant humans to see if it is harmful.

That said, this drug should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed. Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

If you are breastfeeding, you should tell your doctor before taking this drug. Ranitidine may pass into breast milk and cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. You may need to ask your doctor to help you weigh the benefits of breastfeeding versus taking this drug. It generally takes less than a day for ranitidine to leave your system after you have stopped taking it. After 24 hours, it is likely safe to breastfeed.

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Dosage

How to take ranitidine

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

For duodenal (intestinal) ulcer

Generic: ranitidine

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral syrup
  • Strength: 75 mg/5 mL

Brand: Zantac

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg

Adult dosage (ages 17–64 years)

  • Treatment of an active intestinal ulcer: 150 mg taken twice per day or 300 mg taken once per day. If you take one dose, take it after your evening meal or at bedtime.
  • Maintenance therapy: 150 mg taken once per day at bedtime

Child dosage (ages 1 month–16 years)

Typical dosage: 

  • Treatment of an active intestinal ulcer: 2–4 mg/kg of body weight twice per day
  • Maintenance therapy: 2–4 mg/kg taken once per day

Maximum dosage:

  • Treatment of an active intestinal ulcer: 300 mg per day
  • Maintenance therapy: 150 mg per day

Child dosage (younger than 1 month)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for children younger than 1 month.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lower dosage or a different treatment schedule. This can help keep levels of the drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have moderate or severe kidney disease, your doctor may start you on 150 mg once per day. They may increase the dosage to twice per day.

For gastric (stomach) ulcer

Generic: ranitidine

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral syrup
  • Strength: 75 mg/5 mL

Brand: Zantac

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg

Adult dosage (ages 17–64 years)

  • Treatment of an active stomach ulcer: 150 mg twice per day
  • For maintenance therapy: 150 mg once per day at bedtime

Child dosage (ages 1 month-16 years)

Typical dosage: 

  • Treatment of an active intestinal ulcer: 2–4 mg/kg of body weight twice per day
  • Maintenance therapy: 2–4 mg/kg once per day

Maximum dosage: 

  • Treatment of an active intestinal ulcer: 300 mg per day
  • Maintenance therapy: 150 mg per day

Child dosage (younger than 1 month)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for children younger than 1 month.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lower dosage or a different treatment schedule. This can help keep levels of the drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have moderate or severe kidney disease, your doctor may start you on 150 mg once per day. They may increase your dosage to twice per day.

For gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Generic: ranitidine

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral syrup
  • Strengths: 75 mg/5 mL

Brand: Zantac

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg

Adult dosage (ages 17–64 years)

  • Typical dosage: 150 mg taken twice per day

Child dosage (ages 1 month–16 years)

  • Typical dosage: 5–10 mg/kg of body weight per day in two divided doses

Child dosage (younger than 1 month)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for children younger than 1 month.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different treatment schedule. This can help keep levels of the drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have moderate or severe kidney disease, your doctor may start you on 150 mg taken once per day. They may increase your dosage to twice per day.

For erosive esophagitis

Generic: ranitidine

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral syrup
  • Strength: 75 mg/5 mL

Brand: Zantac

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg

Adult dosage (ages 17–64 years)

  • Treatment of active disease: 150 mg four times per day
  • For maintenance therapy: 150 mg twice per day

Child dosage (ages 1 month-16 years)

  • Typical dosage: 5–10 mg/kg of body weight per day in two divided doses

Child dosage (younger than 1 month)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for children younger than 1 month.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different treatment schedule. This can help keep levels of the drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have moderate or severe kidney disease, your doctor may start you on 150 mg once per day. They may increase your dosage to twice per day.

For hypersecretory conditions

Generic: ranitidine

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg
  • Form: oral syrup
  • Strengths: 75 mg/5 mL

Brand: Zantac

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg

Adult dosage (ages 17–64 years)

  • Typical dosage: 150 mg twice per day
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor may change your dosage as needed.
  • Maximum dosage: 6,000 mg (or 6 g) per day

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective in people younger than 18 years for this condition.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different treatment schedule. This can help keep levels of the drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

If you have moderate or severe kidney disease, your doctor may start you on 150 mg taken once per day. They may increase your dosage to twice per day.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

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Take as directed

Take as directed

Ranitidine is used for long-term or short-term treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

You may still have stomach pain caused by high amounts of acid in your stomach. This may make your condition worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • trouble walking
  • low blood pressure (may make you feel dizzy or faint)

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have less stomach pain.

Overdose

Ranitidine overdose

Ranitidine overdose is very rare. You would usually have to take much more than recommended before having overdose symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • trouble walking
  • low blood pressure
  • feeling dizzy or faint

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

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Important considerations

Important considerations for taking this drug

General

  • Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor.
  • You can take it with or without food.
  • You can also cut or crush the tablet.

Storage

  • Store this drug carefully at room temperature. Keep it between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Also, keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication, so carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car, especially when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

You and your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues can include your kidney function. Your doctor may do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may lower your dosage of this drug.

Ranitidine vs. omeprazole

Ranitidine vs. omeprazole

  • What’s the difference between ranitidine and omeprazole?
  • Both ranitidine and omeprazole work to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. However, how they do this is different. Ranitidine helps prevent your body from making acid. Omeprazole permanently blocks the enzyme that pumps the acid into your stomach. Omeprazole also reduces acid in your stomach for longer than ranitidine.

    The side effects of both drugs are similar for short-term use. However, omeprazole is associated with more constipation and gas buildup, or flatulence.

    In terms of long-term use, omeprazole has been associated with more severe side effects than ranitidine. This is because stomach acid is needed to absorb certain nutrients. Long-term use of both drugs may cause low levels of vitamin B-12, for example. Long-term use of omeprazole may also cause low levels of magnesium, and it has been associated with an increased risk of fractures. Ranitidine may be a safer option in older adults who have osteoporosis or are at risk of it.

    There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

    - The Healthline Medical Team
  • Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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