H2 Blocker Uses

H2 Blockers for GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is caused by acid reflux into the esophagus. Acid reflux is a term referring to the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. The stomach is designed to be able to handle the acid it produces; the esophagus, however, is not. If too much stomach acid is in contact with the esophagus for too long, damage to the lining of the esophagus occurs, causing the symptoms of GERD.
(Click What Is GERD? for more information.)
A few of the more common GERD symptoms include heartburn, feeling like food is stuck in your throat, choking feelings, acidic or sour taste in the mouth, and chest pain. All of the prescription H2 blockers are approved to treat the symptoms of GERD and esophagitis (damage to the esophagus) caused by GERD.

H2 Blockers for Pathological Hypersecretory Conditions

There are several conditions that cause the stomach to produce too much acid. These conditions can include Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, systemic mastocytosis, and "short-gut" syndrome. Pepcid® (famotidine), Tagamet® (cimetidine), and Zantac (ranitidine) are approved for the treatment of these conditions.

How Do H2 Blockers Work?

H2 blockers work 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, H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach. This is why H2 blockers are known as "acid reducers."

What Are H2 Blockers?

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