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Ranitidine

This is how ranitidine works

The stomach environment is very acidic, especially when empty. This is important because the food ingested has to meet a mix of acids and enzymes in order to ensure initial digestion and bacteria destruction. In order to maintain this milieu, the body has a complex regulating mechanism in which various messenger substances such as histamine and acetylcholine (acid-stimulating) as well as prostaglandins (acid-inhibiting) are involved.

Normally, the aggressive stomach acid would also attack the stomach wall if it were not protected. An acid-neutralizing mucus that lies like a film over the inside of the stomach is involved in this protection.

In individual cases, however, this protection may be impaired or inadequate. The acid can then cause an ulcer by attacking the stomach wall. Heartburn also causes belching: acidic stomach contents rise (reflux) and come into contact with the unprotected mucous membrane of the esophagus. Inflammation of the esophagus is the possible consequence (reflux esophagitis).

Ranitidine belongs to the so-called H2-Antihistamines and inhibits acid production in special cells (parietal cells) of the stomach. There, the active ingredient blocks the docking points (receptors) of the acid-stimulating histamine, which means that less acid is pumped into the interior of the stomach. As a result, the stomach environment becomes less acidic, which alleviates the symptoms.

Uptake, degradation and excretion of ranitidine

After ingestion by mouth (orally), the active ingredient is absorbed in sufficient quantities from the intestine into the blood. The maximum effect occurs after about two hours. Once ranitidine has been distributed in the body, it is broken down in the liver. The breakdown products are then excreted through the kidneys.

When is ranitidine used?

The areas of application (indications) for ranitidine include:

  • short-term treatment of heartburn and acid-related inflammation of the esophagus (reflux esophagitis)

This is how ranitidine is used

Ranitidine is usually used in the form of tablets. The usual daily dose ranges from 75 milligrams (short-term treatment for heartburn) to 300 milligrams (for acute gastrointestinal ulcers). The tablets can be taken without a meal; sometimes it is recommended to take them directly after a meal before going to bed.

You can self-treat heartburn with ranitidine over a period of 14 days. If the symptoms have not improved, a medical examination is recommended.

What are the side effects of ranitidine?

Often, that is, in more than ten percent of those treated, ranitidine can cause side effects such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. This is mainly due to the increase in the number of bacteria in the stomach, as there is less acid available in the stomach to kill the bacteria in the food.

Occasionally, taking ranitidine may cause headache, joint pain, and muscle pain. In addition, in rare cases, water retention in the tissue (edema), dizziness and cardiac arrhythmias occur.

What should be considered when taking ranitidine?

Medicines containing ranitidine must not be used if the person being treated suffers from a certain metabolic disease (porphyria).

Interactions

When used at the same time, ranitidine may increase the effects of the following drugs:

The change in the stomach environment can result in the following active ingredients being better absorbed, which increases their effect:

The absorption of the following drugs is reduced by ranitidine, which can lead to a weakening of the effect:

  • Ketoconazole (for fungal infections)
  • Gefitinib (for cancer)

Driving and using machines

Occasionally, taking ranitidine may impair your ability to react. Therefore everyone should wait for the reaction of their own body to the drug and decide together with the doctor about their ability to drive.

This is especially true in combination with alcohol, since ranitidine greatly slows down its breakdown.

Age restrictions

Medicines containing ranitidine should not be used in children under 16 years of age without medical advice. If symptoms such as acid regurgitation or stomach pain occur in children or adolescents, a doctor should always be consulted.

pregnancy and breast feeding period

Medicines containing ranitidine may be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women after careful risk-benefit assessment if neutralizing drugs have not been successful in treating heartburn.

Experience has shown that ranitidine is very well tolerated and does not cause permanent damage to the unborn or infant. It is therefore the drug of choice for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

How to get medicines with ranitidine

Drugs with a low dose of ranitidine (75 milligrams per tablet) are available over the counter from pharmacies. For long-term and higher-dose treatment, however, a doctor's prescription is required to ensure regular monitoring of the success of the therapy.

How long has ranitidine been known?

Ranitidine has been known as an active ingredient for a relatively long time. However, since the so-called proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole, pantoprazole) are an active ingredient class that is stronger and more effective for heartburn and gastrointestinal ulcers, the following applies Ranitidine only as a means of second choice.

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