Ranitidine: Uses & Side Effects

Ranitidine belongs to a group of drugs called histamine-2 blockers. It 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.

Before using ranitidine

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to ranitidine.

Heartburn is often confused with the first symptoms of a heart attack. Seek emergency medical attention if you have chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, and a general ill feeling.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take this medicine if you have:

  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease; or
  • porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).

Ranitidine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Ranitidine passes into breast milk. Do not take this medicine without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Using this medicine may increase your risk of developing pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia include chest pain, fever, feeling short of breath, and coughing up green or yellow mucus. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk of developing pneumonia.

The effervescent tablet may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using the effervescent tablets if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

Side effects

Stop using this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to ranitidine: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • stomach pain, loss of appetite;
  • dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • fever, chills, cough with mucus, chest pain, feeling short of breath;
  • fast or slow heart rate;
  • easy bruising or bleeding; or
  • problems with your skin or hair.

Common ranitidine side effects may include:

  • headache (may be severe);
  • drowsiness, dizziness;
  • 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, constipation.


Keywords: Ranitidine; Zantac.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.