Peptic Ulcer Disease (Stomach Ulcer)

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder Anand, MD

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H2 blockers

Studies have shown that a protein released in the stomach called histamine stimulates gastric acid secretion. Histamine antagonists (H2 blockers) are drugs designed to block the action of histamine on gastric cells and reduce the production of acid. Examples of H2 blockers are cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), nizatidine (Axid), and famotidine (Pepcid). While H2 blockers are effective in ulcer healing, they have a limited role in eradicating H. pylori without antibiotics. Therefore, ulcers frequently return when H2 blockers are stopped.

Generally, H2 blockers are well tolerated and have few side effects even with long term use. In rare instances, patients report headache, confusion, lethargy, or hallucinations. Chronic use of cimetidine may rarely cause impotence or breast swelling. Both cimetidine and ranitidine can interfere with the body's ability to handle alcohol. Patients on these drugs who drink alcohol may have elevated blood alcohol levels. These drugs also may interfere with the liver's handling of other medications like phenytoin (Dilantin), warfarin (Jantoven, Coumadin), and theophylline. Frequent monitoring and adjustments of the dosages of these medications may be needed.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/3/2016

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