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Ranitidine is one of a group of medicines known as H2-receptor antagonists. It acts by blocking histamine receptors which are present on the cells in the stomach lining. Normally a substance called histamine binds to these receptors. Histamine is a chemical produced throughout the body and has many effects. When histamine binds to H2 receptors on cells in the stomach lining, it causes them to produce acid. Ranitidine binds to H2 receptors, replacing some of the histamine. As a result, the amount of stomach acid produced by these cells is decreased. Stomach acid is present as a normal part of the digestive process. If large amounts of stomach acid are produced this can cause the pain in the abdomen commonly known as indigestion. The excess acid may also flow back into the food pipe (oesophagus) causing pain and a burning sensation known as heartburn. Normally the lining of the stomach and duodenum (an area of the intestine directly after the stomach) have a protective layer which resists acid attack. If this layer is damaged, or large amounts of stomach acid are formed, a peptic ulcer can develop. Ranitidine decreases the amount of acid in the stomach and duodenum. As a result, ranitidine helps relieve the symptoms of indigestion and aids the healing of ulcers. It is also used to depress acid production in various other conditions.
Uses of prescription ranitidine include the treatment of:
- Duodenal ulcers (ulcers in the very first part of the intestine after the stomach) -- ranitidine can be used to treat a duodenal ulcer and also to prevent ulcers from coming back
- Gastric ulcers (stomach ulcers) -- ranitidine helps to heal a stomach ulcer and to keep ulcers from returning
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Erosive esophagitis (damage to the esophagus, usually due to stomach acid) -- ranitidine can be used to heal erosive esophagitis and to prevent it from returning
- Pathological hypersecretory conditions (in which too much stomach acid is produced), such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome or systemic mastocytosis.
Before you start taking Ranitidine hydrochloride , let your healthcare provider know if you have:
- Kidney disease or kidney failure
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Acute porphyria
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
- Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant . Ranitidine is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that ranitidine is probably safe for use during pregnancy. However, because it has not been studied in pregnant women, the full risks of using ranitidine during pregnancy are not known. Women who are pregnant should take ranitidine only if the benefits outweigh the risks to the developing baby. Be sure to discuss ranitidine's possible risks and benefits with your healthcare provider before using ranitidine during pregnancy
- Are breastfeeding. Ranitidine is passed through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about this. He or she can decide whether taking ranitidine while nursing would be okay for your particular situation.
- Because the kidneys clear ranitidine from the body, the dose of ranitidine must be reduced in people with poor kidney function, including kidney failure (renal failure).
- The liver also helps to clear ranitidine from the body. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking ranitidine if you have liver problems, including liver failure or cirrhosis.
- Some of the symptoms of GERD, heartburn, or ulcers are similar to stomach cancer symptoms. Just because ranitidine provides relief from your symptoms does not rule out the possibility of stomach cancer.
- For people with acute porphyria, ranitidine may cause porphyria attacks. Acute porphyria is a condition involving a problem with certain liver enzymes. Ranitidine is not the best choice for people with acute porphyria.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Alteration in results of liver function tests
- False perceptions of things that are not really there (hallucinations)
- Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis)
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Allergy to active ingredients (hypersensitivity) such as facial flushing, skin rash, itch, narrowing of airways (bronchospasm) or swelling of lips, tongue or throat (angioedema)
- Pain in the muscles and joints
- Blood disorders
- Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.
Especially pay attention to the following drugs:
- Atazanavir (Reyataz)
- Itraconazole (Sporanox)
- Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
- Triazolam (Halcion)
- Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).
DO NOT SHARE THIS MEDICINE with others. DO NOT USE THIS MEDICINE for other health conditions. KEEP THIS PRODUCT, as well as syringes and needles, if needed during treatment, out of the reach of children. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials.
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