Ranitidine is generally used to treat conditions where stomach acid can be a problem. It can help to treat stomach ulcers, dyspepsia (indigestion), ulcers caused by NSAID pain relief medications, and acid reflux, or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.
In addition to this, Ranitidine can also be prescribed to help to clear up infections of the stomach, and is usually taken alongside antibiotics in this case.
Ranitidine is one of the most popular treatments for indigestion and acid reflux due to the fact that it’s available in supermarkets and pharmacies without a prescription, but it’s important to know that you should never take any medicine, including ranitidine, for more than 2 weeks without consulting your GP. You may need diagnostic tests to find out the cause of your symptoms.
How does ranitidine work
Ranitidine helps to reduce the amount of acid that’s in your stomach. As a h2-receptor antagonist, ranitidine blocks certain enzymes that are found within the cells on the stomach lining to make sure that less stomach acid is being produced. Histamine is the chemical that encourages the production of stomach acid, and it’s received by the enzymes that ranitidine blocks. By doing this, the histamine in your body can’t send messages to the cells that produce stomach acid. This in turn helps to reduce symptoms of acid reflux (usually caused by excess stomach acid reaching the windpipe), and also helps to heal ulcers due to the reduced levels of acid.
Other medicines such as omeprazole and antacids can have the same effect, but they work in different ways to ranitidine.
Ranitidine side effects
Luckily, ranitidine is a drug that rarely produces side effects, and a majority of patients that take it don’t experience any ill effects at all. However, as with all medications, ranitidine does have the potential to cause side effects, with the most common ones being nausea, stomach pain and constipation. However, these usually improve in time as you continue taking ranitidine.
The rest of the side effects highlighted in the patient information leaflet (PIL) range from being uncommon to very rare, but include the following symptoms:
- Stomach pain
- Skin rash
- Feeling depressed
- Dizziness and blurred vision
- Painful joints and muscles
- Swollen liver
- Unexplained hair loss
- Change in liver function
- Tender breasts
- Breast discharge
- Awareness of heart beat
If you do experience any of the rarer side effects, please contact your GP and tell them that you’ve been taking ranitidine.
It’s also important to know that as with other medicines, ranitidine may cause an allergic response in some people. This can range from having a skin rash and feeling itchy, to experiencing a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If you notice that you’re struggling to breathe or are noticing swelling above your neck, you should call 999 immediately, and use an epi-pen if you have one available.
Ranitidine over the counter
The 75mg strength of ranitidine can be bought in supermarkets and pharmacies without a prescription or even needing to answer some questions from a pharmacist. However, the 150mg and 300mg strengths are only available on prescription. If you need to take the higher strengths of ranitidine, it’s best to get a prescription for it instead of taking many of the 75mg tablets at once.
150mg ranitidine is the most common dosage, and you don’t even need to make an appointment to get it. If you struggle with symptoms of indigestion or acid reflux, you can now buy ranitidine online and receive a prescription after a consultation with GMC registered doctors at Doctor4U. All orders are subject to doctor approval.
150mg ranitidine is usually taken once or twice a day, depending on the dose that the doctor has prescribed to you.
As with most medicines during pregnancy, you’re advised to avoid ranitidine unless you’ve had alternative advice from your doctor or pharmacist.
Acid reflux is a common complaint in pregnancy, so it’s always important to speak to a medical professional before buying any treatment for it.
Ranitidine is usually safe for breast-feeding mothers, but again, it’s safer to ask a healthcare professional before taking it if you fall into this category.
How long does ranitidine take to work
Ranitidine is a popular drug for acid reflux, partly due to the fact that it begins to work within 1-2 hours, and you should notice an improvement of symptoms within this time. It’s a fairly fast-acting drug, and the effects can last for up to 12 hours.
If you don’t feel any relief within 2 hours of taking ranitidine, don’t take another dose until your next one is due. After a few days if your symptoms haven’t improved, you should make an appointment to see your GP and find out what might be causing your heartburn.
How much ranitidine is safe to take
The general recommendation when taking ranitidine for heartburn is between 150mg-300mg per day. This can either be taken in one dose (usually at night time), or in two doses split throughout the day.
The maximum recommended dose is 300mg, though taking an extra tablet by mistake isn’t likely to cause serious problems. You may be at a greater risk of experiencing side effects, but severe problems aren’t likely to arise unless you take many tablets at once. However, it’s never a good idea to intentionally take more medicine than what is prescribed for you.
Ranitidine is available from supermarkets, pharmacies, and online within the UK. You can buy ranitidine either in generic form, or as the branded version, Zantac.
Doctor4U are happy to prescribe ranitidine in the UK to those that have a consultation approved by one of our doctors. With several shipping options available, including next-day delivery, we can ship your ranitidine to you wherever you are in the UK.
If you’re struggling to get a doctor’s appointment and you need medication, you can buy ranitidine from Doctor4U without needing a face to face consultation.
We have several treatment options available for acid reflux, including omeprazole, lansoprazole, and esomeprazole. If you want to buy ranitidine or any of these other treatments, please complete an online consultation form for acid reflux.