Ranitidine works by blocking a specific kind of histamine receptor. Histamine is a chemical released by the body that has several effects. In the stomach, histamine causes more acid to be produced. By blocking histamine in the stomach, this medication reduces the amount of acid produced. This is why ranitidine is known as an "acid reducer."
Several studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of ranitidine to treat several different conditions, including:
Pathological hypersecretory conditions (such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome).
In one study performed to assess the effectiveness of using ranitidine to treat duodenal ulcers (upper intestinal ulcers), 73 percent of people who took the medicine had healed ulcers after four weeks of treatment. Only 45 percent of people who were not taking it had their duodenal ulcer heal within four weeks. Another study looking at preventing duodenal ulcers from returning after healing found that 35 percent of people taking ranitidine had another duodenal ulcer within one year, compared to 59 percent of people not taking it.
In a study involving ranitidine and gastric ulcer (stomach ulcer) treatment, 68 percent of people taking the medication experienced healing within six weeks. Ulcers healed in 51 percent of people who were not on ranitidine. Studies have also shown that the medication can help prevent stomach ulcers from returning after they have healed.
Several studies have looked at using ranitidine for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These studies have shown that people taking the medication have greater relief of their GERD symptoms, including heartburn symptoms, than people not taking it. These studies have also shown that ranitidine can provide heartburn relief within one day of starting the medication.