Ranitidine, sold under the trade name Zantac among others, is a medication which decreases stomach acid production. It is commonly used in treatment of peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Zollinger–Ellison syndrome. There is also tentative evidence of benefit for hives. It can be taken by mouth, by injection into a muscle, or into a vein.
Common side effects include headaches and pain or burning if given by injection. Serious side effects may include liver problems, a slow heart rate, pneumonia, and the potential of masking stomach cancer. It is also linked to an increased risk of Clostridium difficilecolitis. It is generally safe in pregnancy. Ranitidine is an H2 histamine receptor antagonist that works by blocking histamine and thus decreasing the amount of acid released by cells of the stomach.
Ranitidine was discovered in 1976, and came into commercial use in 1981. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. It is available as a generic medication. The 2015 wholesale price in the developing world was about US$0.01–0.05 per pill. In the United States it is about $0.05 per dose. In 2016, it was the 50th most prescribed medication in the United States with more than 15 million prescriptions. In September 2019, the toxin N-nitrosodimethylamine was discovered to occur in ranitidine from a number of manufacturers, resulting in distribution stops and recalls