The generic name for Zantac is ranitidine and it is classified as a H-2 (histamine-2) blocker. Histamine is a natural chemical produced by the body which stimulates cells in the stomach to produce acid. An excessive amount of acid is not good for health and so, this drug is used to treat and prevent ulcers in the stomach and intestine – and help reduce the chances of their return after they have been cured.
It is also used to treat specific stomach and throat problems caused by abundant acid, examples including erosive esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Common side effects include headache, constipation and diarrhea. If these get worse with time and do not fade away, call your doctor.
Serious side effects include blurred vision, mood changes (depression, confusing etc), enlarged breasts, fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, changes in heartbeat, harsh stomach pain, dark urine, yellowing skin or eyes, problems with skin or hair and signs of infection.
Seek medical attention in case of allergic reactions such as itching, swelling, rashes and difficulty in breathing.
Overdose symptoms include coordination problems, light-headedness, fainting and difficulty walking. Do not delay calling a poison centre or an emergency helpline in case of such an occurrence.
HOW TO USE
Follow the instructions on the label or your doctor’s guidelines – do not prolong or shorten treatment and do not change doses unless recommended.
It can be taken with or without food.
If you’re using the effervescent tablet, then do not take it directly. Do not crush or chew it and do not dissolve it in your mouth. Use water to dissolve the tablet according to your dosage and let it disappear completely into the water.
Similarly, granules should also be mixed with water before drinking (at least 6 to 8 ounces)
Use an accurate measuring syringe.
If your symptoms do not improve in six weeks, contact your doctor. You will typically gain the full benefits of this drug in eight weeks.
Make sure the medication is sealed and the foil hasn’t been tampered with.
In case of self-treatment for acid indigestion, swallow one tablet with a glass of water. To prevent heartburn, take this dosage an hour or half before eating food that causes this heartburn. Do not take more than one tablet in a day unless prescribed and do not continuously take it for more than fourteen days.
Make sure that your doctor knows your medical history beforehand – specifically, warn him about a liver or kidney disease, immune system problems, lung disease and porphyria (an enzyme disorder affecting skin and the nervous system)
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to ranitidine or to similar H2-blockers.
Zantac may lead to the development of pneumonia – be aware of any symptoms that may occur such as chest pain, fever, cough and shortness of breath.
You can buy the medication over the counter without the need for a prescription. Generally, it is used to treat heartburn and other systems related to acidity. If you buy it without prescription, read all the instructions on the package carefully.
Do not use this medication with other H-2 blockers and products that contain ranitidine.
Inform your laboratory tester about this drug as it may disrupt test results.
Elderly people will be more sensitive to side effects and may experience a lot of confusion.
This medication in not for children under twelve-years old and should not be used for them unless prescribed by your doctor.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended you discuss it with your doctor as the drug passes on to breast-milk.