Cimetidine is a type of antihistamine that acts on the stomach to inhibit stomach acid production. It is used to treat a wide variety of conditions as a result of too much acid production in the stomach like a stomach or intestinal ulcers, GERD, peptic ulcer, and many others.
Cimetidine is very effective in reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach. It works well in treating and relieving heartburn symptoms, and last longer than any other medicine of its kind. It’s very affordable as an over-the-counter but may have more side effects than other medicines like it.
What condition does Cimetidine treat?
Cimetidine is used for:
- Prevention of heartburn brought on by drinking and eating certain foods and beverages
- Relieving heartburn associated with sour stomach and acid indigestion.
- Treating peptic ulcers, a type of ulcer formed in the lining of the stomach or duodenum.
- Prevention and relief of peptic ulcer symptoms or indigestions associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs.
- Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), movement of acid into the esophagus causing burning sensation known as heartburn.
- Preventing malabsorption and fluid loss in short bowel syndrome
- Prevention of bleeding from stress ulceration in the gut in people who are critically ill in the intensive care unit.
- Preventing inhalation of acid in the stomach in pregnant women during labor (acid aspiration).
- Preventing inhalation of acid in the stomach (acid aspiration) while in general anesthesia.
- Preventing the breakdown of pancreatin, pancreatic enzyme supplements given in the treatment of conditions like chronic pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis.
- Prevention and treatment of persistent indigestion symptoms related to excess acid in the stomach.
- Treatment of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a condition wherein the stomach produces too much acid.
- Treatment of erosive esophagitis, irritation, and inflammation of the esophagus due to stomach acid.
How does Cimetidine work?
Cimetidine is a histamine H2 receptor antagonist. H2 blockers help limit acid production in the stomach, so that stomach contents cause fewer symptoms when they reflux into the esophagus. Cimetidine blocks the H2 receptors found in the stomach lining. Normally, histamine would bind to these receptors causing the cells to produce too much acid but Cimetidine prevents the binding action thus preventing also the production of acid.
Reducing the amount of acid in the stomach allows ulcers to heal and prevent them from coming back; stops excess acid from flowing back into the esophagus; allows the esophagus to heal with erosive esophagitis; relieves the symptoms of indigestion associated with excess stomach acid and NSAID side effect.
What is the dosage of Cimetidine?
Duodenal ulcers: The recommended dose is 800 mg to 1600 mg before bedtime or 300mg four times a day or 400mg two times a day. Take for 4 to 6 weeks. The maintenance dose is 400mg before bedtime.
Gastric ulcer: The recommended dose is 800mg before bedtime or 300mg four times a day for up to 8 weeks.
GERD: Take 800mg two times a day or 400mg four times a day for 12 weeks.
Heartburn: Take 200mg once or twice a day 30 minutes before a meal or drinking beverages.
How to take Cimetidine?
- Take Cimetidine exactly as directed. Take it regularly to get the most benefit from it. Swallow the tablet whole with plenty of water.
- Take it at the same time each day to help you remember your schedule. For a missed dose, take it as soon as you remember. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed one.
- Do not increase your dose without telling your doctor. Continue taking this medicine for the prescribed length of treatment. You may need to take Cimetidine for several days before your symptoms get better.
- Even if you feel well, do not stop taking this medicine. Stopping the treatment too soon will only delay the healing process.
- The onset of action of Cimetidine is observed less than an hour after intake. The duration of the effect lasts for an average of 4 to 5 hours.
- Do not take over-the-counter Cimetidine for longer than 2 weeks unless you are told to do so. If you have been taking this for more than 2 weeks in treating acid indigestion, heartburn or sour stomach but still the symptoms persist, stop taking this medicine and call your doctor.
What are the precautions in taking Cimetidine?
- Do not use Cimetidine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
- Use it with caution if you have a decreased kidney or liver function.
- Do not take aspirin, NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory medications unless directed by your physician. These can make your condition worse.
- If you get tarry, black stool, or vomit that looks like the coffee ground, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages or smoke cigarettes as this can increase irritation in your stomach and can increase the time for your ulcer to heal.
- Stomach ulcers can have similar symptoms to stomach cancers. In this case, your doctor will have to exclude the possibility of stomach cancers before prescribing Cimetidine. Otherwise, this drug could mask the symptoms of stomach cancer and delay the diagnosis of the condition.
- People with diabetes, underactive immune system, and chronic lung disease may have a higher risk of developing pneumonia while taking Cimetidine. Inform your doctor if you develop chest infection, or cough while taking this medication.
- Cimetidine is not intended for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- In case of serious side effects like agitation, depression, hallucination, breast swelling, dark urine jaundice, and change in sex drive seek medical help right away.
Costs of Generic Cimetidine vs. Tagamet
Cimetidine is an inexpensive antihistamine type of drug used in the treatment, prevention, and relief of a wide variety of conditions that result from too much stomach acid production. Cimetidine is cheaper than the brand name Tagamet. Cimetidine 400mg cost $0.42 per unit price or $25.2 for 60 tabs. While the brand name Tagamet $15.99 for 30 tabs or $1.87 per unit price of 200mg.