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Pronounced: ZAN-tac
Generic name: Ranitidine hydrochloride

Why is this drug prescribed: Zantac is prescribed for the short-term treatment (4 to 8 weeks) of active duodenal ulcer and active benign gastric ulcer, and as maintenance therapy for gastric or duodenal ulcer, at a reduced dosage, after the ulcer has healed. It is also used for the treatment of conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and systemic mastocytosis, for gastroesophageal reflux disease (backflow of acid stomach contents) and for healing--and maintaining healing of--erosive esophagitis (severe inflammation of the esophagus). Some doctors prescribe Zantac to prevent damage to the stomach and duodenum from long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Indocin and Motrin, and to treat bleeding of the stomach and intestine. Zantac is also sometimes prescribed for stress-induced ulcers.

Most important fact about this drug: Zantac helps to prevent the recurrence of gastric or duodenal ulcers and aids the healing of ulcers that do occur.

How should you take this medication: Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Make sure you follow the diet your doctor recommends. Dissolve "Efferdose" tablets and granules in 6 to 8 ounces of water before taking them. You can take an antacid for pain while you are taking Zantac. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Store this medication at room temperature in the container it came in, tightly closed and away from moist places and direct light. Keep Zantac Syrup from freezing.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Zantac. More common side effects may include: Headache, sometimes severe Less common or rare side effects may include: Abdominal discomfort and pain, agitation, changes in blood count (anemia), changes in liver function, constipation, depression, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, hair loss, hallucinations, heart block, hepatitis, hypersensitivity reactions, inflamed blood vessels, inflammation of the pancreas, involuntary movements, irregular heartbeat, jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), joint pain, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, rash, reduced white blood cells, reversible mental confusion, severe allergic reactions, sleepiness, slow heartbeat, swollen face and throat, vague feeling of bodily discomfort, vertigo, yellow eyes and skin

Why should this drug not be prescribed: If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Zantac or similar drugs such as Tagamet, you should not take this medication. Make sure that your doctor is aware of any drug reactions that you have experienced.

Special warnings about this medication: A stomach malignancy could be present, even if your symptoms have been relieved by Zantac. If you have kidney or liver disease, this drug should be used with caution. If you have phenylketonuria, you should be aware that the "Efferdose" tablets and granules contain phenylalanine.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Zantac is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Zantac with the following: Alcohol Blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin Diazepam (Valium) Diltiazem (Cardizem) Enoxacin (Penetrex) Glipizide (Glucotrol) Glyburide (DiaBeta, Micronase) Itraconazole (Sporanox) Ketoconazole (Nizoral) Metformin (Glucophage) Nifedipine (Procardia) Phenytoin (Dilantin) Procainamide (Procan SR) Sucralfate (Carafate) Theophylline (Theo-Dur) Triazolam (Halcion)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of Zantac in pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Zantac appears in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with this medication is finished.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: Active Duodenal Ulcer The usual starting dose is 150 milligrams 2 times a day or 10 milliliters (2 teaspoonfuls) 2 times a day. Your doctor also might prescribe 300 milligrams or 20 milliliters (4 teaspoonfuls) once a day, after the evening meal or at bedtime, if necessary for your convenience. The dose should be the lowest effective dose. Long-term use should be reduced to a daily total of 150 milligrams or 10 milliliters (2 teaspoonfuls), taken at bedtime. Other Excess Acid Conditions (such as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome) The usual dose is 150 milligrams or 10 milliliters (2 teaspoonfuls) 2 times a day. This dose can be adjusted upwards by your doctor. Benign Gastric Ulcer and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) The usual dose is 150 milligrams or 10 milliliters (2 teaspoonfuls) 2 times a day. Once an ulcer has cleared up, a single bedtime dose is prescribed to maintain healing. Symptoms of GERD generally improve within 24 hours after the start of therapy. Erosive Esophagitis The usual dose is 150 milligrams or 10 milliliters (2 teaspoonfuls) 4 times a day. Maintenance dosage is 150 milligrams or 10 milliliters (2 teaspoonfuls) twice a day. CHILDREN: Duodenal and Gastric Ulcers For children 1 month to 16 years of age, the recommended dosage for initial treatment is 2 to 4 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day twice daily up to a maximum of 300 milligrams per day. For long-term maintenance of healing, the recommendation is 2 to 4 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight once daily up to a maximum of 150 milligrams per day. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Erosive Esophagitis For children 1 month to 16 years of age, the usual daily dosage is 5 to 10 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight, divided into two doses. OLDER ADULTS: People with kidney problems, such as some older adults, typically are given a lower dose. During the therapy with Zantac, the doctor is also more likely to monitor your kidney function if you're over 65.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Information concerning Zantac overdosage is limited. However, an abnormal manner of walking, low blood pressure, and exaggerated side effect symptoms may be signs of an overdose. If you experience any of these symptoms, notify your doctor immediately.

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