GENERIC NAME: cimetidine
BRAND NAME: Tagamet HB
DISCONTINUED BRAND: Tagamet
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Cimetidine is a drug that blocks the production of acid by acid-producing cells in the stomach and can be administered orally, IM or IV. It belongs to a class of drugs called H2 (histamine-2) blockers that also includes ranitidine (Zantac), nizatidine (Axid), and famotidine (Pepcid). Histamine is a naturally-occurring chemical that stimulates cells in the stomach (parietal cells) to produce acid. H2-blockers inhibit the action of histamine on the cells, thus reducing the production of acid by the stomach. Since excessive stomach acid can damage the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum by reflux and lead to inflammation and ulceration, reducing stomach acid prevents and allows acid-induced inflammation and ulcers to heal. Cimetidine was approved by the FDA in 1977.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Cimetidine is used for the treatment of duodenal ulcers, active gastric ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pathological hypersecretory conditions (for example, Zollinger Ellison syndrome), heartburn and the prevention of gastrointestinal bleeding.
SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects due to cimetidine are rare and generally reversible once the medication is stopped. Minor side effects include:
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