Ranitidine (ranitidine hydrochloride)

What is ranitidine?

Ranitidine is an acid reducer available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that relieve or prevent heartburn symptoms associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach. Ranitidine is part of a group of acid reducers called histamine-2 antagonists, or H2 blockers.

April 2020: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested all products containing ranitidine be withdrawn from the market. FDA also advises consumers to stop taking over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing ranitidine.

What is ranitidine used to treat?

  • Heartburn
  • Acid indigestion
  • Sour stomach
Common brands containing ranitidine:
  • Zantac®
  • Store Brands (ex. Walmart’s “Equate” store brand or CVS Health store brand)

How much ranitidine can you take?

Different types of products containing this active ingredient have different strengths. That’s why it is always important to read and follow the Drug Facts label. Most medicines warn against use of an active ingredient for longer than 7-10 days. Stop and ask a doctor if symptoms persist.

Safety guide for ranitidine

Ranitidine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label.

Ask a healthcare provider before use if:

  • You have had heartburn for more than three months.
  • You have frequent chest pain, wheezing, unexplained weight loss, nausea or vomiting, or stomach pain.
  • Your heartburn is accompanied by lightheadedness, sweating, or dizziness.
  • You have kidney disease.
  • You are experiencing chest or shoulder pain with shortness of breath; sweating; pain spreading to your arms, neck, or shoulders; or lightheadedness.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Talk to a healthcare provider before giving an OTC medicine containing ranitidine to a child under the age of 12.

Do not use if:

  • You have kidney disease, unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
  • You are allergic to ranitidine or other acid reducers.
  • You have trouble or pain swallowing food, you are vomiting with blood, or you have bloody or black stools.
  • You are currently using another acid reducer.

Stop use and ask a doctor if:

  • Your heartburn continues or gets worse.
  • You need to take the medicine for more than 14 days.
  • You take too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.

What are the side effects of ranitidine?

  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach discomfort or pain