Ranitidine: How Does It Work? Precautions, Proper Use and Side Effects

It reduces the amount of acid produced by the stomach and is within the family of drugs called histamine-2 blockers.

Doctors prescribe Ranitidine to treat and prevent ulcers in the stomach and intestines. It is also used as a treatment for Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome , which produces too much acid in the stomach.

This medication is usually used for gastroesophageal reflux disease and other conditions in which the acid returns from the stomach to the esophagus and causes heartburn.

How does Ranitidine work?

It reduces the secretion of gastric acid in the stomach by blocking the effect of histamine on the parietal cells lining the stomach wall.

Histamine is the chemical transmitter that stimulates the parietal cells to release gastric acid. By blocking H2 receptors, Ranitidine prevents histamine from having this effect, thereby reducing the secretion of gastric acid.

Therefore, it is used for the short-term treatment of active duodenal or gastric ulcers.

It can be used for up to 1 year for maintenance treatment of duodenal or gastric healed ulcers.

It can also be used in the treatment and maintenance of erosive esophagitis diagnosed endoscopically.

Symptoms of Heartburn

Sometimes it is confused with the first symptoms of a heart attack , such as chest pain that extends to the shoulder and left arm, excessive sweating, nausea and general malaise.

It is important to assist the doctor for an accurate diagnosis of the condition, this reduces the chances of future health problems due to poor treatment.

When you are being treated with Ranitidine and heartburn is severe, the treating doctor may recommend antacids to help relieve the discomfort.

If the stomach already has an ulcer, treatment with Raditidine may last for more than 8 weeks to relieve the discomfort and begin to heal.

Alcohol can not be consumed while this medication is being used because it contributes to the burning in the stomach and the additional acidity can cause the drug to lose its effectiveness.


Prolonged use of Ranitidine without a prescription may increase the risk of developing pneumonia .

Symptoms of pneumonia include chest pain, fever, shortness of breath and cough with green or yellow mucus. This disease can cause short or long term health problems if it is not treated in time.

Proper use of Ranitidine?

This medicine must be taken as directed by the treating doctor, and during the suggested period. Using it in excess or decreasing the dose will not improve the condition or decrease the sensation of heartburn.

Side effects

If the affected person is allergic and does not know it, they may present the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inflammation of the lips, tongue, throat or face.
  • Urticaria or rash on the body.

Among the side effects harmful to health are:

  • Intense bleeding in small cuts.
  • Bruises without presenting blows or abuse on the skin previously.
  • Green or yellowish mucus.
  • Chronic cough.
  • Cardiac arrhythmia .
  • Short of breath.
  • Constant pain in the chest.
  • Difficulty to focus or see.
  • Fever without infection.
  • Dark urine.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Color clay stools

The side effects that do not generate major complications for health are:

  • Mild or severe headache
  • Difficulty getting to sleep.
  • Dizziness or vomiting.
  • Inflammation in the chest
  • Diarrhea, upset stomach or constipation
  • Decreased sexual appetite
  • Inability to have orgasms.

Depending on the presentation of Ranitidine, the following mild symptoms may occur:

  • Oral or parenteral therapy: headache.
  • IM Therapy: in the place where the injection was applied some temporary pain.
  • Intravenous therapy: local transient burning.


It can cause false positive results in protein tests in the urine and higher doses can affect liver function. The dose of Ranitidine should be adjusted in people with kidney disease.


The exact dose should be taken as indicated on the package or the treating doctor. Some treatments suggest taking it twice a day when used to treat ulcers, but it can be taken as a single daily dose at night.

Antacids can be taken along with ranitidine if necessary for the pain associated with gastric acid.