Zantac belongs to a class of medicines called H2-receptor antagonists. This medicine works by reducing the amount of acid in your stomach. It is used to treat gastrointestinal ulcers as well as to relieve heartburn and indigestion.
In some cases, however, heartburn, indigestion and other similar symptoms may not be due to ulcers, but to other, more serious conditions. This means that treatment with Zantac could have the unwanted effect of causing a delay in your doctor diagnosing a more serious condition.
Zantac is sometimes used in addition to one or two antibiotics to treat gastrointestinal ulcers caused by H pylori bacteria. This is known as dual therapy when one antibiotic is used and triple therapy when two antibiotics are used.
This combination of medicines kills the bacteria and prevents ulcers from recurring.
Do not share your medicine with other people. It may not be suitable for them and may harm them.
The pharmacy label on your medicine tells you how much medicine you should take. It also tells you how often you should take your medicine. This is the dose that you and your prescriber have agreed you should take. You should not change the dose of your medicine unless you are told to do so by your prescriber.
If you feel that the medicine is making you unwell or you do not think it is working, then talk to your prescriber.
Ranitidine and Losec are widely used and safe medications. Both interact with a few prescription medication, most notably Warfarin and Phenytoin.
The main risk of taking either is the danger of masking the symptoms of a cancer in the stomach or gullet.
For this reason Losec (Omeprazole) or Zantac (Ranitidine) should only be taken after seeing a doctor face-to-face if the following apply.
Those aged 45 years or over:
- With new onset of symptoms within the last year
- Where symptoms are worsening or changing
People of any age with heartburn where there is:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Difficulty or pain on swallowing
- Vomiting, particularly if there is blood in the vomit
- Previous gastric ulcer or surgery
Those sufferers who have had to take an antacid or acid suppressor continuously for four or more weeks in order to control their symptoms.
Those who have taken an indigestion or heartburn remedy for two weeks with no relief of symptoms.
When to consult a doctor
If a person is not sure about their symptoms or has never seen a doctor about acid problems it is best to see a doctor face-to-face.
Some medication can produce irritation in the stomach and gullet, most notably anti-inflammatory medications. Where a person is taking these drugs they should see their GP to discuss possible alternatives.
Anybody taking regular medication should let their GPknow they are taking occasional Losec (Omeprazole) or Zantac (Ranitidine). The GP may want to monitor the regular medication or adjust the dosages.
Losec (Omeprazole) is well-tolerated and side effects generally mild and reversible. Headache, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain and rash are among adverse side effects reported with Omeprazole.
Similarly Zantac (Ranitidine) does not normally produce sided effects. Headache, feeling dizzy and diarrhoea are the most frequently reported side effects.
Frequency of Acid Indigestion
Almost everybody will experience acid indigestion from time to time. It can be brought on spicy food or by drinks such as wine or acid fruit juice. Most acid indigestion will settle with antacid tablets containing an alkali. These are the familiar chalky tablets or medicines.
Some people are prone to repeated episodes of acid reflux. For these people Losec (Omeprazole) or Zantac (Ranitidine) taken daily for few days will usually settle symptoms for a week or two at a time. Indigestion symptoms can usually be kept under control by taking a Losec (Omeprazole) or Zantac (Ranitidine) tablets on an as required basis.
Zantac is best taken at a dose of one 150mg tablet twice daily for 4-5 days to settle symptoms down.
Zantac 150mg tablets can also be taken once or twice daily on an as required basis when symptoms flare up.
Like all medicines, Zantac can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
The following side effects may happen with this medicine.
Stop taking Zantac and see a doctor straight away, if you notice any of the following serious side effects, you may need urgent medical treatment:
• allergic reactions, the signs may include:
- rash, itching or hives on the skin
- swelling of your face, lips, tongue or other parts of
- chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing or having
- unexplained fever and feeling faint, especially when
kidney problems, which can lead to back pain, fever,
pain when passing urine, blood in the urine and
changes in blood tests.
severe stomach pain, this may be a sign of something
a slow or irregular heartbeat
Check with your doctor at your next visit if you notice any of the following:
Common (affects less than 1 in 10 people)
• headache (sometimes severe)
• feeling dizzy
Uncommon (affects less than 1 in 100 people)
• having blurred vision
• a rash on its own.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:
Very rare (affect less than 1 in 10,000 people)
• false results in blood tests called ‘liver function tests’ • feeling depressed.
During post-marketing experience, the following have been reported (unknown frequency;
• there can be changes in the level of certain substances
in your blood. This can lead to you feeling unusually tired or short of breath and being more likely to bruise or get an infection
Zantac is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. Other people should only use it with special care. It is important that the person prescribing this medicine knows your full medical history.
Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:
- are allergic or sensitive to or have had a reaction to any of the ingredients in the medicine
- are elderly
- are immunosuppressed
- are middle aged or over and have new or different symptoms of indigestion
- are taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatorymedicine
- have diabetes
- have had peptic ulcers
- have kidney problems
- have lung problems
- have or have had porphyria
Furthermore the prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all for a child who is under the age of three years or who weighs less than 30 Kg.
As part of the process of assessing suitability to take this medicine a prescriber may also arrange tests:
- to determine whether or not the medicine is suitable and whether it must be prescribed with extra care
Over time it is possible that Zantac can become unsuitable for some people, or they may become unsuitable for it. If at any time it appears that Zantac has become unsuitable, it is important that the prescriber is contacted immediately.
Alcohol can interact with certain medicines.
In the case of Zantac:
- there are no known interactions between alcohol and Zantac
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your prescriber may advise you to avoid certain foods.
In the case of Zantac:
- there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when taking Zantac
Driving and operating machinery
When taking any medicine you should be aware that it might interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.
Like all medicinesZantac can cause side effects. You should see how this medicine affects you and then judge if you are safe to drive or operate machinery. If you are in any doubt, talk to your prescriber.
Family planning and pregnancy
Most medicines, in some way, can affect the development of a baby in the womb. The effect on the baby differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.
In the case of Zantac:
- you should only take this medicine during pregnancy if your doctor thinks that you need it
You need to discuss your specific circumstances with your doctor to weigh up the overall risks and benefits of taking this medicine. You and your doctor can make a decision about whether you are going to take this medicine during pregnancy.
If the decision is that you should not have Zantac, then you should discuss whether there is an alternative medicine that you could take during pregnancy.
Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.
In the case of Zantac:
- you should only take this medicine while breast-feeding if your doctor thinks you need it
Before you have your baby you should discuss breast-feeding with your doctor or midwife. They will help you decide what is best for you and your baby based on the benefits and risks associated with this medicine. You should only breast-feed your baby while taking this medicine on the advice of your doctor or midwife.
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