GERD Home > Zantac Uses

In the case of Zantac, uses of the prescription forms of the medication include the treatment of duodenal and gastric ulcers, erosive esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and pathological hypersecretory conditions. Over-the-counter Zantac is used to treat heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour stomach in people 12 years old and older. "Off-label" Zantac uses include the prevention of ulcers in people in the intensive care unit of a hospital and acid-related pneumonia during surgeries.

What Is Zantac Used For?

Zantac® (ranitidine hydrochloride) is a medication that is available both as a prescription medication and an over-the-counter drug. It is used to treat conditions related to the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Specific Zantac uses include treatment or prevention of the following conditions:
  • Duodenal ulcers
  • Gastric ulcers (stomach ulcers)
  • Erosive esophagitis
  • Pathological hypersecretory conditions (conditions in which too much stomach acid is produced), such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome or systemic mastocytosis.
Over-the-counter Zantac is approved for the following conditions in people 12 years old and older:
  • Heartburn
  • Acid indigestion
  • Sour stomach.
Zantac for Ulcers
Ulcers can occur in several places in the digestive tract. One common place for an ulcer to develop is in the duodenum (the upper part of the intestine just after the stomach). This type of ulcer is called a duodenal ulcer. Another common place to have an ulcer is the stomach. This is called a stomach ulcer or gastric ulcer. "Peptic ulcer" is a term that refers to both duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers.
There are many ulcer causes, including medications, infections, and diseases. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen are a common cause of stomach ulcers. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) can also cause ulcers. Certain conditions that cause increased stomach acid production may also cause ulcers.
Common symptoms of an ulcer include:
  • Heartburn-like symptoms
  • Abdominal pain (or stomach pain) -- especially at night
  • Loss of appetite.
Bleeding ulcer symptoms may include dizziness, vomiting blood, and blood in the stool (seen as dark-colored stools). Some people with an ulcer may not have any symptoms.
Zantac is approved for use in treating both duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers. Zantac is approved to help heal the ulcers and can also help to prevent ulcers from returning once they have healed.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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