Ranitidine is in a group of drugs called histamine-2 blockers. Ranitidine works by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces.
Ranitidine is used to treat and prevent ulcers in the stomach and intestines. It also treats conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Ranitidine also treats gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other conditions in which acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
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Stop taking ranitidine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
chest pain, fever, feeling short of breath, coughing up green or yellow mucus;
easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
fast or slow heart rate;
problems with your vision;
fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash; or
nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious side effects may include:
headache (may be severe);
sleep problems (insomnia);
decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; or
swollen or tender breasts (in men);
nausea, vomiting, stomach pain; or
diarrhea or constipation.
Your doctor may recommend an antacid to help relieve pain. Carefully follow your doctor's directions about the type of antacid to use, and when to use it. Do not crush, chew, or break the ranitidine effervescent tablet, and do not allow it to dissolve on your tongue. The 25-milligram effervescent tablet must be dissolved in at least 1 teaspoon of water before swallowing. The150-milligram effervescent tablet should be dissolved in 6 to 8 ounces of water. Allow the ranitidine effervescent tablet to dissolve completely in the water, and then drink the entire mixture. If you are giving this medicine to a child, you may draw the liquid mixture into a medicine dropper and empty the dropper into the child's mouth. Ranitidine granules should be mixed with 6 to 8 ounces of water before drinking. Measure ranitidine liquid with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one. It may take up to 8 weeks before your ulcer heals. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 6 weeks of treatment. This medication can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using ranitidine.