How Does Cimetidine Work and How Effective Is It?

How Does It Work?

Cimetidine is an "H2 blocker" that works by blocking a specific kind of histamine receptor. Histamine is a chemical released by the body that has several effects. In the stomach, histamine causes more acid to be produced. By blocking histamine in the stomach, cimetidine reduces the amount of acid produced by the stomach. This is why cimetidine is known as an "acid reducer."
 

Effectiveness

There have been several studies looking at how well the medication treats several conditions.
 
Ulcers
In one study of cimetidine's effectiveness for treating (upper intestinal ulcers), ulcers were healed in up to 86 percent of people who took cimetidine within four weeks of treatment. After eight weeks of treatment, up to 94 percent of people showed ulcer healing. Studies have also shown that it can prevent duodenal ulcers from returning.
 
In studies looking at using cimetidine for gastric ulcer (stomach ulcer) treatment, up to 76 percent of people taking it experienced stomach ulcer healing within six weeks. Ulcers healed in 55 percent of people who were not taking it.
 
GERD and Esophagitis
Studies have looked at using cimetidine for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These studies have shown cimetidine was effective for relieving GERD symptoms. These studies also showed that it helped to heal esophagitis (damage to the esophagus) due to GERD. Up to 67 percent of people taking cimetidine showed esophageal healing within 12 weeks, compared to just 36 percent of those not taking it.
 
Pathological Hypersecretory Conditions
Studies have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of using cimetidine to treat several pathological hypersecretory conditions (in which too much stomach acid is produced), such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. These studies showed that cimetidine can decrease stomach acid production and relieve symptoms associated with pathological hypersecretory conditions.
 

Cimetidine (Tagamet)

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