Ranitidine is used to treat conditions related to the stomach, esophagus, and intestines. It is available over-the-counter and by prescription. The drug comes in tablet form and is typically taken one to four times a day. Over-the-counter ranitidine is licensed to treat heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour stomach. The prescription form is used for treating ulcers, GERD, erosive esophagitis, and other conditions.
Ranitidine hydrochloride (Zantac®) is a medication that is available as both a prescription medication and an over-the-counter medication. It is used to treat several conditions related to the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Ranitidine is part of a class of drugs known as H2 blockers.
Prescription Zantac is made by GlaxoSmithKline, while over-the-counter Zantac is made by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. Generic ranitidine (both prescription and over-the-counter) is made by several manufacturers.
Uses of prescription-strength ranitidine include the treatment of:
- Duodenal ulcers (ulcers in the first part of the intestine after the stomach) -- Ranitidine can be used to treat a duodenal ulcer and also to prevent ulcers from coming back.
- Gastric ulcers (stomach ulcers) -- Ranitidine helps to heal a stomach ulcer and to keep ulcers from returning.
- Erosive esophagitis (damage to the esophagus, usually due to stomach acid) -- Ranitidine can be used to heal erosive esophagitis and to prevent it from returning.
- Pathological hypersecretory conditions (in which too much stomach acid is produced), such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome or systemic mastocytosis.
The over-the-counter form is approved for the following conditions:
- Acid indigestion
- Sour stomach.
Over-the-counter ranitidine can be used to treat these problems once they have started. Also, it can be used to prevent these problems if taken before eating or drinking foods or beverages that may cause them.
(Click What Is Ranitidine Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses of the medication.)