Ranitidine belongs to a group of drugs called histamine-2 blockers, which reduce stomach acid.

Pronunciation: ran-EYE-tih-DEEN

What are ranitidine’s uses?

Ranitidine is used in the treatment and prevention of excess acidity in the stomach and intestines.

It is also used to treat conditions where the stomach produces too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, as well as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and similar conditions where acid flows up from the stomach causing acid reflux and heartburn.

It is used during surgery to prevent stomach acid from entering the gullet during anaesthesia, as well as for pain relief associated with stomach ulcers, bleeding ulcers and acid reflux.

What dosage should you take?

The dosage will vary, depending on the condition being treated, so first check the correct dosages with your Clicks pharmacist.

What special precautions should you take?

  • Ranitidine should be used with caution in the elderly as it may increase the risk of developing pneumonia.
  • This medication is not expected to harm an unborn baby, but nevertheless inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Ranitidine does pass into breast milk, so do not take this medication without discussing it with your doctor first.
  • Heartburn may be confused with the initial symptoms of heart attack. Seek emergency medical treatment if you experience chest pain, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, sweating or nausea.
  • Follow the instructions regarding the taking of ranitidine granules or effervescent tablets. These are typically dissolved in water, and not chewed or crushed.
  • Use measuring spoons provided with the medication.
  • Avoid alcohol when using ranitidine, as it may increase the risk of stomach damage.
  • For optimum results keep taking the medication as directed, as it can take up to eight weeks for stomach ulcers to heal.
  • Ranitidine may interfere with the results of certain medical tests, so inform your doctor if you are taking it. 
  • Ranitidine should be avoided if you suffer from a ranitidine allergy.

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

  • Kidney disease
  • Stomach cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Acute porphyria (a rare group of disorders affecting the skin and nervous system)
  • Immune system conditions

What drug interactions could you experience?

As a rule, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take to ensure you don’t suffer the effects of adverse drug interactions.

What are ranitidine’s side effects?

Side effects could include:

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 the ambulance immediately if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Fainting
  • Light headedness
  • Gastrointestinal upset
The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in August 2015