What Is Ranitidine Used For?
The prescription medication ranitidine is used for treating conditions such as heartburn, ulcers, acid indigestion, sour stomach, and GERD. It can be used to treat children as young as one month old. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider before giving ranitidine to a young child or infant.
Ranitidine hydrochloride (Zantac®) is a medication that is available both as a prescription medication and an over-the-counter drug. It is used to treat conditions related to the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Specific ranitidine uses include treatment or prevention of the following conditions:
- Duodenal ulcers
- Gastric ulcers (stomach ulcers)
- Erosive esophagitis
- Pathological hypersecretory conditions (in which too much stomach acid is produced), such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and systemic mastocytosis.
Over-the-counter ranitidine is approved for the following conditions in people 12 years and older:
- Acid indigestion
- Sour stomach.
Ranitidine for Ulcers
Ulcers can occur in several places in the digestive tract. One common place for an ulcer is in the duodenum (the upper part of the intestine just after the stomach). This type of ulcer is called a duodenal ulcer. Another common location for an ulcer is the stomach. This is called a stomach ulcer or gastric ulcer. "Peptic ulcer" is a term that refers to both duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers.
There are many possible causes of ulcers, including medications, infections, and diseases. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are a common cause of stomach ulcers. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) can also cause ulcers. Certain conditions that cause increased stomach acid production may also cause ulcers.
Common ulcer symptoms include heartburn symptoms or stomach pain (especially at night) and loss of appetite. Bleeding ulcer symptoms often include dizziness, vomiting blood, and blood in the stool (seen as dark-colored stools). Some people with an ulcer may not experience any symptoms.
Ranitidine is approved for use for both duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers. It is approved to help heal the ulcers and can also help to prevent ulcers from returning once they have healed.