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What are the Side Effects of Ranitidine?

By H. Lo
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many side effects of ranitidine, a type of medication known as a histamine-2 (H2) blocker. Some of the common side effects that a patient might experience are constipation, diarrhea and headache. Other common side effects include nausea, stomach pain and vomiting. In addition, more serious, but less common, side effects can also occur such as agitation, allergic reaction and depression. Easy bruising or bleeding, hallucinations and jaundice are examples of other serious side effects of ranitidine.

Ranitidine itself is used to treat a variety of medical conditions. In general, it works to block or decrease the release or production of stomach acid. Stomach acid is produced because histamine, a natural chemical, enables it to do so. Ranitidine is used to treat ailments that cause too much acid production in the stomach such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, as well as heartburn, which is caused by acid backing up from the stomach. The medication is also used to treat stomach and intestinal ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and damage to the stomach due to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use.

All medications come with potential side effects. Aside from these normal reactions, ranitidine might also increase a patient’s chances of developing pneumonia. If a patient suspects that he does indeed have pneumonia or suffers from symptoms of pneumonia, he should contact a doctor. It is important that the patient not mistake pneumonia symptoms for side effects of ranitidine. Symptoms of pneumonia include chest pain, coughing up green or yellow mucus, and fever.

Existing medical conditions might interfere with ranitidine. A patient should disclose to a doctor such ailments as kidney disease, liver disease and porphyria. The kidney itself plays a role in ranitidine treatment. Elderly people, who have decreased kidney function, should be cautious when taking the medication because they are more susceptible to the side effects of ranitidine.

In addition, when a patient is taking multiple medications at any one time, the drugs might interact with one another. There are a variety of medications that might interact with ranitidine, including atazanavir, procainamide and warfarin. As with pre-existing medical conditions, these medications should be disclosed to a doctor before taking ranitidine. The doctor might adjust the ranitidine prescription in order to safely and effectively treat the patient.

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