Cimetidine is an enzyme-inhibiting medication used in the treatment of ulcers and heartburn.

Pronunciation: sye-ME-ti-deen

What are cimetidine’s uses?

Cimetidine is used to treat and prevent peptic ulcers and heartburn (also known as acid reflux) by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. It belongs to a class of drugs known as H2-receptor antagonists.

What dosage should you take?

The typical dose for cimetidine for adults is 200mg three times a day, and 400mg before bed. Your doctor may prescribe a stronger dose, depending on your condition.

Children younger than 12 should not take cimetidine unless it is prescribed. Discuss correct dosages with your doctor or Clicks pharmacist.

What special precautions should you take?

  • If you are taking an antacid for stomach pain, make sure you take it at least one hour apart from cimetidine or the medicinal effects may be reduced.
  • Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have any problems with your liver, kidneys, immune system, if you have diabetes or any digestive problems such as Crohn’s disease.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly should always consult their doctor before taking cimetidine.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol as it may increase certain side effects of cimetidine such as drowsiness.
  • Avoid drinking excessive coffee while taking cimetidine.
  • Early symptoms of a heart attack – pain in the chest, dizziness, nausea – can sometimes be mistaken for heartburn. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
  • Do not exceed or take less than the prescribed dosage.

Cimetidine should be avoided if you suffer from asthma.

Cimetidine should be used with caution if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • Liver impairment
  • Kidney impairment
  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • A weak immune system

What drug interactions could you experience?

To avoid adverse drug interactions, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or are planning to take.

What are cimetidine’s side effects?

Side effects could include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • A skin rash
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

Call a doctor or an ambulance immediately if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Slurred speech
  • Abrupt mood changes
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme weakness
  • Confusion
The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015