Cimetidine tablets are typically used to treat ulcers, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, pathological hypersecretory conditions, and the heartburn that often accompanies gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. This is because this drug is usually able to stop stomach acid from being released. Most people only take this medication temporarily, as staying on it long-term usually shows no benefits. Additionally, it should not be taken at the same time as antacids since they can reduce the absorption of this pill. Patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, drinking or smoking regularly, or suffering from kidney or liver disease should let their doctor know since cimetidine tablets are not recommended in such cases.
These tablets may be prescribed to help treat a few types of ulcers. For example, those with duodenal ulcers can benefit from reducing the release of stomach acid at night, so cimetidine tablets may be used for up to eight weeks during treatment. In such cases, they are usually taken at night before bed. Once the ulcer has healed, some patients may continue taking these tablets for years, but at a lower dosage. This medication can also be used to treat a benign gastric ulcer, in which case it should typically not be taken for longer than eight weeks.
Many patients with GERD suffer from heartburn, which cimetidine tablets can help treat. In most cases, treatment does not last longer than 12 weeks, as the use of taking cimetidine tablets after this time period has not been widely studied. This drug can also helped in healing the lesions that may come along with GERD, though the use of antacids by those with this condition should be tempered since they can reduce the effectiveness of cimetidine. Antacids should be taken either an hour before or after the cimetidine is ingested so that they do not interfere.
This drug has also been used to stop upper gastrointestinal bleeding in some patients who are considered critically ill. It is usually given intravenously in the hospital, and not for more than a week in most cases. Cimetidine tablets may also be offered to patients with pathological hypersecretory conditions like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. This condition is usually caused by a tumor that releases gastrin, which is a hormone that can increase gastric acid in the body. The result is typically the presence of ulcers in the stomach, esophagus, and some areas of the small intestine, though cimetidine can help relieve the discomfort they cause.