- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Boost Digestive Health
- Digestive Distress Slideshow: Problem Foods to Avoid
- Patient Comments: Peptic (Stomach) Ulcer - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Peptic (Stomach) Ulcer - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Peptic (Stomach) Ulcer - Causes
- Patient Comments: Peptic (Stomach) Ulcer - Complications
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
- Peptic ulcer (stomach, duodenum) definition and facts
- What is a peptic ulcer?
- What are the signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers?
- What causes peptic ulcers?
- What does a stomach ulcer look like?
- Which specialties of doctors treat peptic ulcers?
- How are peptic ulcers diagnosed?
- Is there a special diet for peptic ulcer disease?
- What is the treatment for peptic ulcers?
- H2 blockers
- Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs)
- H. pylori treatment
- What are the complications of peptic ulcers?
- What is the prognosis for a person with peptic ulcer disease?
Quick GuideSuper Tips to Boost Digestive Health: Bloating, Constipation, and More
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.