GERD Home > Understanding the Effects of Zantac

How Does It Work?

Zantac 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, Zantac reduces the amount of acid produced by the stomach. This is why it is known as an "acid reducer."


There have been several studies conducted to assess how effective the drug is for treating various conditions, including:
  • Ulcers
  • GERD
  • Erosive esophagitis
  • Certain pathological hypersecretory conditions.
In one study assessing the effectiveness of using Zantac for treating duodenal ulcers (upper intestinal ulcers), 73 percent of people who took the medicine had healed ulcers after four weeks of treatment. Only 45 percent of people who were not taking it had their duodenal ulcer heal within four weeks. Another study looking at preventing duodenal ulcers from returning after healing found that 35 percent of people taking Zantac had another duodenal ulcer within one year, compared to 59 percent of people not taking it.
In a study on using Zantac for gastric ulcer (stomach ulcer) treatment, 68 percent of people taking it experienced stomach ulcer healing within six weeks. Ulcers healed in 51 percent of people who were not on Zantac. Studies have also shown that the drug can help prevent stomach ulcers from returning after they have healed.
Several studies have looked at using Zantac to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These studies have shown that people taking it have greater relief of their GERD symptoms, including heartburn symptoms, than people not taking it. These studies have also shown that Zantac can provide heartburn relief within one day of starting the medication.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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