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Ranitidine HCL is used to prevent and treat peptic ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is a prescription that blocks the production of acid. This belongs to the class of medications called Histamine-2 (H2) blockers. Histamine is a naturally occurring chemical that stimulates cells in the stomach to produce acid. The cells are called parietal cells. H2 blockers prevent the action of histamine on the cells. Therefore, it lessens the production of acid by the stomach. Since too much stomach acid can damage the stomach or esophagus and lead to inflammation and ulceration, decreasing stomach acid prevents and heals acid-induced ulcers and inflammation.
This medication is already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1984. This product is supplied as a tablet. Each tablet is available in the dosage strength of 150 mg for oral use.
Peptic ulcers develop on the inside lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine. This condition is an open sore that has the most common symptom which is stomach pain. There are two types of peptic ulcers;
- Duodenal ulcers – occurs on the inside of the upper portion of your small intestine
- Gastric ulcers – occurs on the inside of the stomach
GERD occurs when contents from your stomach persistently and regularly flow up into your esophagus. The esophagus may be referred to as the food pipe and is the tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach. The acid and the esophagus cause heartburn and other symptoms, also possible tissue damage. Many people experience acid reflux from time to time. GERD is mild acid reflux that happens at least twice a week. Common signs and symptoms of this condition are chest pain, difficulty swallowing, or the sensation of a lump in your throat.
How does Ranitidine HCL work?
Ranitidine HCL blocks the H2 receptors that stop the cells from producing too much stomach acid. H2 receptors are to be found on the cells inside the stomach lining. Natural body chemical called histamine usually acts on these receptors that cause them to produce stomach acid to help digest food.
This medication also lessens the backflow of acid into the food pipe that can cause heartburn symptoms and damage to the food pipe. By lessening the amount of acid in the stomach and duodenum, this medicine allows peptic ulcers to heal.
Your indigestion and heartburn should start to feel better within an hour or 2 hours. The effects will usually last for around 12 hours. It may take a few weeks for this medication to work properly. Depending on your problems, you may still have some acid symptoms during this time.
How to use Ranitidine HCL?
The tablet is to be taken by mouth depending on the dosage that will be prescribed to you. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, chew, or crush it. Drink plenty of fluids while having this treatment. The given dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the medication. Take each dose exactly as it is given by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than the prescription. Your doctor may give you a lower dose to start and gradually increase it.
Ranitidine HCL is to be taken as directed by your doctor. Each dose may be taken with or without a meal. Take it regularly for the best benefit of this product. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse. Do not suddenly stop this treatment without the consent of your doctor.
What are the side effects of Ranitidine HCL?
Common side effects:
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- Muscle pain
- Sleep problems or nausea
Call your doctor right away and stop using this drug if these serious side effects occur:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Dark urine
- Loss of appetite
- Fast or slow heart rate
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Problems with your skin or hair
- Chills or fever
- Cough with mucus
- Chest pain
- Feeling short of breath
If you have signs of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away:
- Hives or itching
- Swelling of your lips, face, throat, or tongue
- Trouble breathing
Warnings and Precautions
- Before taking Ranitidine HCL, let your doctor know if you have any medical history such as liver or kidney problems and any other stomach problems.
- Tell as well if you ever had an allergic reaction to this drug. This may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction.
- Do not use this product in children younger than 12 unless it is directed by your doctor. Older adults may also be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication.
- During pregnancy, this should only be used if needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using Ranitidine HCL.
- If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.
- If you are breastfeeding women, consult your doctor first. If you get pregnant or planning to become pregnant while having this medication, call your doctor right away.
- Using this medicine may increase your risk of developing pneumonia. Symptoms may be fever, chest pain, or coughing up green or yellow mucus. Talk to your doctor about your specific risk of developing pneumonia.
- Do not share this with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
- If there are signs of an overdose, call for medical emergency help right away.
- Let your doctor know about all the medication you are taking including the vitamins or herbal supplements. You should not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
- Keep this drug far from the reach of children.