- What Is Zantac?
- How Does It Work?
- How Is It Used?
- The Potential Side Effects
- Are There Any Generic Versions Available?
- Popular Questions on Zantac
Zantac is one of the most popular medications for treating heartburn, intestinal and stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, erosive esophagitis and other conditions, when there is too much acid produced in the stomach.
In practice, such conditions are highly common. So, according to results of the researches, about 60 million of US citizens experience heartburn at least once a month, and about 15 million ― on a daily basis. And in other countries the situation is very similar.
What Is Zantac?
Zantac is the brand name of ranitidine ― a medication that belongs to histamine-2 blockers or histamine antagonists. This remedy helps patients by reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach, which prevents it from getting into the esophagus and causing heartburn and varied damages.
It is available in varied pharmaceutical forms ― oral tablets, oral capsules, oral syrup, as well as injectable solutions. But, in most cases, doctors and patients give preference to oral pills. It is noteworthy that, in addition to a prescription version, this medication is available in over-the-counter variant. The main difference lies in the dosage strength.
How Does It Work?
This medicine blocks histamine, which is the main trigger for the stomach to produce acid. An organism needs this acid to digest food. But, if there is too much acid produced, it may cause unpleasant feelings and pain, as well as damage mucous membranes of the digestive system, which may lead to the appearance of ulcers and other serious consequences. So, this medicine is taken to block histamine and to stop or prevent the overproduction of acid. That helps a patient to get rid of heartburn and promotes the healing of inflammation and ulcers.
How Is It Used?
The regimen can vary significantly. If you use the prescription version of the drug, you should stick to the instructions provided by your doctor.
The course of treatment may take several weeks or even longer. But, even if you do not feel unpleasant symptoms anymore, you should never stop taking the drug, unless it is allowed by your doctor.
Speaking about the over-the-counter version of this medication, it is used for self-treatment of heartburn or acid indigestion. In such a case the medication is taken as needed, i.e. when one feels the symptoms of the heartburn. According to the instruction, one should take 1 tablet and follow it with a glass of water. This medication starts working right away.
Also, this medicine can be used for preventing heartburn. If one plans to eat foods or drink beverages that can trigger heartburn, one can take one pill before starting the meal.
Sure, before starting to use the over-the-counter version of the medication, it is advisable to have a consultation with a medical specialist in order to make sure that one does not have any contraindications and to get detailed instructions.
In addition, when using the OTC version, one should stick to certain restrictions in order to avoid serious health consequences. First of all, one should not take more than 2 tablets per 24 hours, unless that is permitted by the doctor. Secondly, one should not take this medication for more than 14 days in a row without having a consultation with the doctor.
The Potential Side Effects
The possibility and severity of side effects depends on the dosage used. One should always stick to the dosage and regimen recommended by the doctor.
Here are some of the widespread side effects associated with the use of this medicine:
- changes to the sense of taste;
- sleeping problems;
- pains in muscles and joints.
One should note that the majority of adverse side effects can be controlled and relieved. Meanwhile, without proper treatment, they can lead to serious health consequences. So, if one notices any unpleasant symptoms after taking the drug, one should turn for medical assistance.
Are There Any Generic Versions Available?
Yes. In addition to brand-name products manufactured by Zanofi, there is a good selection of generic versions.
Generic Zantac is a copy of an original product, which includes an identical active ingredient, works in an identical way and treats the same health conditions, but is produced by a different pharma company. In fact, the biggest difference between the brand medication and its generic alternatives is the origin. All the other characteristics are identical. So, for a patient, there is no difference, which version to use, except for the price.
If you opt for a generic, it will help you save a significant sum of money. In some cases the price can be cut by several times. The point is that companies producing generics use the ready formula created by Zanofi, which dramatically reduces the final price of their products. In addition, generic products are often manufactured in developing countries, since prices and salaries are much lower there. Sure, that also allows decreasing the price. However, that doesn’t have any impact on the quality, safety or effectiveness of the product, since the formula is very similar.
In fact, if you use brand-name Zantac, you can switch to a generic version at any moment. Still, you should take into account a couple of aspects:
- As it has been already mentioned, both original and generic versions contain the identical active ingredient ― ranitidine. But, in addition to the active substance, the formula includes subsidiary components ― flavorings, colorants, stabilizers, etc. According to the standards, companies producing generics can use different subsidiary components, since that doesn’t affect the action of the product in any way. But those subsidiary ingredients can cause allergic reactions, so, customers should scrutinize the composition of every new product before trying. Sure, subsidiary components included in the composition of brand-name products can cause allergy as well.
- Dosage strength. If one decides to switch from an original product to a generic one, he should not change the dosage. Still, as a rule, using generics, a patient can choose from a wider selection of dosages.
Popular Questions on Zantac
- What is Zantac used for?
It is used to treat health problems associated with the overproduction of acid in the stomach, including heartburn, intestinal and stomach ulcers, reflux disease and others.
- How does this medication work?
This medicine blocks histamine and, as a result, prevents or stops the excess production of acid. Consequently, a patient is relieved from the symptoms of heartburn, and ulcers and inflammation are healed.
- Is it sold on prescription?
It depends on the dosage. Oral tablets with the dosage strength of 75 mg and 150 mg are available over-the-counter. But 300 mg tablets can be bought on prescription only. In any case, before trying this medication, a patient should obligatory have a consultation with a medical specialist to make sure that he doesn’t have any contraindications.
- Which dosage to choose?
In the case of the prescription version, the dosage should be chosen by a doctor. And, if you want to try the OTC variant, have a consultation with a pharmacist. The suitable dose will depend on the severity of your symptoms.
- What is the difference between brand-name Zantac and its generics?
The main difference is the name of the manufacturer. A brand product is produced by Zanofi, and generic alternatives ― by other manufacturers. There is no difference in the formulas, indications, mechanisms of action or therapeutic effects. But there is a significant difference in price, generic products are much cheaper. So, if you want to cut expenses, switching to a generic is a good idea.
All the content above is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be treated as medical instructions or advice. The website disclaims any responsibility for any damage (direct or indirect) associated with the use of the medications mentioned. It is strictly recommended having a consultation with the doctor before trying any medicines ― both prescription and nonprescription ones. Keep in mind that self-treatment can lead to serious health consequences. In case you use any medicines without getting a permit from the doctor, you do that at your own risk.