Cimetidine is used to treat:

  • Peptic ulcers
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Excess stomach acid

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. This belongs to the class of medications commonly called H2 blockers. Cimetidine reduces the amount of acid in your stomach. This comes as a tablet with a dosage strength of 200 mg for oral use. 

Peptic ulcers are sore that develops in the lining of the stomach. They are usually formed as a result of inflammation caused by a certain bacteria. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is burning abdominal pain that extends from the navel to the chest. That it can range from mild to severe. In some cases, the pain may wake you up at night. Small peptic ulcers may not produce any symptoms in the early phases. Other common signs and symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Nausea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloody or dark stools 
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Chest pain 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease happens when contents form your stomach move up into your esophagus. Many people experience this from time to time. Common signs and symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • A burning sensation in your chest usually after eating, which might be worse at night
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • The sensation of a lump in your throat

Excess stomach acid can be uncomfortable to live with. It can lead to serious health problems when not treated. Stomach acid is important to the digestive system. It helps us process food and it kills harmful bacteria. The stomach makes the hormone called gastrin. When these acid levels increase, it can lead to hyperacidity. Excess stomach acid can range from mild to severe. 

How does Cimetidine work?

Cimetidine blocks H2 receptors that are found on the cells in the stomach lining. Natural body chemical called histamine usually binds to these receptors. It causes the cells to create stomach acid. By blocking the H2 receptors, Cimetidine inhibits histamine from binding to them. This stops the cells from making stomach acid. Stomach acid is produced in the stomach as a normal part of the digestive process. Usually, the linings of the stomach and duodenum are protected by a layer that resists acid attack. But, if this layer is damaged, or large amounts of stomach acid are formed, an ulcer can develop on the lining of the stomach. This is called a peptic ulcer.

The acid produced in the stomach can also sometimes flow back into the food pipe. This is called gastro-oesophageal reflux and can cause pain and a burning sensation known as heartburn. It can also irritate and damage the lining of the esophagus, causing a condition called reflux esophagitis. By reducing the production of stomach acid Cimetidine can be used to treat all these and other conditions. It stops excess acid from flowing back into the food pipe. It also allows the esophagus to heal in reflux esophagitis. By reducing the amount of acid in the stomach, Cimetidine also allows peptic ulcers to heal and prevents them from recurring. 

How to use Cimetidine?

Take this medication by mouth with a full glass of water. You may take each dose with or without a meal or as directed by your doctor. Swallow the tablet as a whole. Do not crush or break. The dosage is based on your condition and response to the treatment. Follow the instructions of your doctor carefully. If you are also taking antacids to relieve stomach pain as recommended by your doctor, separate them from this by at least one hour. 

Take this medication regularly as prescribed to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. Do not increase your dose or take it more often than directed. Continue to take this medication for the prescribed length of treatment even if you well. Stopping treatment too early may delay the healing process. 

If you are using non-prescription Cimetidine for self-treatment, take 1 tablet by mouth with a full glass of water as needed. To prevent heartburn, take 1 tablet by mouth. Do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hours unless directed by your doctor. If you missed a dose, call your doctor right away for instructions. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse. 

What are the side effects of Cimetidine?

Common side effects:

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Skin rash 
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Breast swelling or tenderness (in men)
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation 

Stop using this medication and call your doctor right away if these side effects occur:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Mental/mood changes
  • Decreased sexual ability 

Warnings and Precautions

  • Stomach cancer can have the same symptoms as stomach ulcers. These symptoms can be relieved by Cimetidine. Hence, if it is suspected that you have a stomach ulcer, your doctor should exclude the possibility of stomach cancer before you start treatment with this medicine. Or else, this medication could mask the symptoms of stomach cancer and can delay the diagnosis of this condition. This is particularly important if you are middle-aged or older and have new or recently changed symptoms.
  • Certain medicines should not be used during breastfeeding or pregnancy. However, other medicines may be safely used in breastfeeding or pregnancy providing the benefits to the mother outweighs the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
  • If you ever had an allergic reaction to this medication, let your doctor know. Tell also if you have any allergies. This drug may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. 
  • If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor right away.
  • This medicine may cause dizziness or blurred vision that could affect your ability to perform hazardous activities safely. You should take extra care when driving until you know how it affects you. 
  • If you are a pregnant, breastfeeding woman, or get pregnant while having this treatment call your doctor right away for a consultation.