Cimetidine is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as H2 blockers. It reduces the amount of acid produced by the stomach. The medication is available in prescription and non-prescription strengths. Prescription cimetidine is used to treat ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and other conditions. The over-the-counter version is used to treat heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour stomach. A few side effects of the drug include drowsiness, headache, and dizziness.
Cimetidine (Tagamet®) is a medicine that is available as prescription medication and as an over-the-counter drug. It is used to treat several conditions related to the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. It is part of a class of drugs known as H2 blockers.
The manufacturer of brand-name cimetidine (Tagamet and Tagamet HB®) is GlaxoSmithKline, although brand-name prescription Tagamet is no longer being made. Several manufacturers make generic versions in prescription and over-the-counter strengths.
- Duodenal ulcers (ulcers in the very first part of the intestine after the stomach): It can be used to treat a duodenal ulcer and also to prevent ulcers from coming back.
- Gastric ulcers (stomach ulcers): It is approved to treat benign (non-cancerous) gastric ulcers.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): It helps treat GERD, helping to relieve heartburn and heal esophagitis (damage to the esophagus) due to GERD.
- Pathological hypersecretory conditions: It helps to treat these conditions (in which too much stomach acid is produced), such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
The over-the-counter form of cimetidine is approved for the following conditions:
- Acid indigestion
- Sour stomach.
This non-prescription form of cimetidine can be used to treat these problems once they have started. Also, it can be used to prevent these problems if taken before eating or drinking foods or beverages that cause heartburn.
(Click What Is Cimetidine Used For? for more information about uses of the medication, including information about possible off-label uses.)