Zantac is the brand name of ranitidine which is a chemical compound used as an anti-acid drug. It belongs to a class of drugs called H2 (histamine-2) blockers. Zantac is available over the counter (OTC) and by prescription. In its OTC form, Zantac is used to treat heartburn and acid indigestion. In prescription strength, it’s used to treat ulcers, GERD and erosive esophagitis.
How Does Zantac Work?
Ranitidine, the active ingredient in Zantac, belongs to a class of antacid drugs called H2 blockers, or histamine-2 receptor agonists.
H2 receptor agonists work by blocking histamine from parietal cells that line the stomach. This prevents the stimulation of the proton pump, an enzyme that transports hydrochloric acid secreted by the parietal cell. Inhibiting the proton pump reduces the amount of acid in the stomach, which, in turn, reduces symptoms of gastric disorders such as heartburn, GERD and gastric ulcers.
Zantac starts to work in as little as 30 minutes. It can control acid production for up to 12 hours and reduce the frequency and severity of heartburn.
Why Is Zantac Bad For You?
In September 2019, some manufacturers raised the alarm concerning Zantac and the contamination with N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA — a chemical that may cause cancer.
At first, the agency didn’t agree that NDMA levels present in ranitidine were too high. But after several tests, the agency announced that it had found NDMA in all the drug samples it tested.
Consequently, the FDA requested an immediate market withdrawal of all ranitidine products. According to the agency, consumers taking OTC ranitidine should stop taking the drug, dispose of their supply properly and not buy more.
Substitute For Zantac
Because of the reason explained above, Zantac is no longer in the market (not advisable to buy even if seen in the market). Hence there is a need for alternative drugs to manage heartburn and related health issues. Below is a list of substances that will effectively replace Zantac.
Prevacid (lansoprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). Doctors may recommend it for short-term treatment of ulcers and acid reflux. Like Zantac, Prevacid is a fast-acting drug and cause comfort almost immediately. Both types of medication prevent the stomach from producing too much acid. But they do it in different ways. Prevacid affects tiny proton pumps that generate acid through a chemical process. Prevacid is available in prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) versions. Prevacid treats certain problems related to excess stomach acid. It is generally intended for short-term use — anywhere from 10 days to 12 weeks. But patients sometimes use it for longer periods of time. However, studies have linked long-term Prevacid use with several serious side effects.
Nexium, the brand name of esomeprazole, is a proton pump inhibitor that reduces stomach acid production. It is marketed as “the purple pill” and is used to treat GERD, ulcers and other stomach acid-related conditions. Nexium comes in several versions. It premiered as a prescription drug. Over-the-counter (OTC), generic and store brands followed. Nexium treats frequent heartburn, serious stomach acid-related condition, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach ulcer, erosive esophagitis, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Common Nexium side effects include headache and nausea. People should not take Nexium if they are allergic to esomeprazole magnesium or any of the drug’s other ingredients.
Prilosec is a medicine designed to reduce stomach acid. If a person has too much stomach acid, it can flow into the esophagus. This can cause severe forms of heartburn and other medical problems. Prilosec is part of the class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Prilosec helps treat conditions caused by too much acid in the stomach. Prilosec shuts down tiny pumps in the stomach that produce acid. This reduces the amount of acid in the stomach. Prilosec is available as OTC and prescription.
Pepcid is the brand name for Famotidine. Like, ranitidine of zantac, famotidine is a histamine H₂ receptor antagonist medication that decreases stomach acid production. It is used to treat peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Pepcid and zantac share almost the same side effect and dosage since they are similar in molecular structure. Hence, Pepcid is a great substitute for Zantac.
Tagament (cimetidine) is used to treat ulcers of the stomach and intestines and prevent them from coming back after they have healed. This medication is also used to treat certain stomach and throat (esophagus) problems caused by too much stomach acid (e.g., Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, erosive esophagitis) or a backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus (acid reflux disease/GERD). Like Zantac, Cimetidine belongs to a class of drugs commonly called H2 blockers. It works by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. This medication is also available without a prescription. It is used to treat occasional heartburn caused by too much acid in the stomach. Tagament may cause mild side effects like headache, dizziness, drowsiness, or diarrhoea. Do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hours unless directed by your doctor. Do not take for more than 14 days in a row without talking with your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was Zantac taken off the market?
Officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have ordered all ranitidine medications, sold under the brand name Zantac, taken off store shelves immediately. The order is tied to concerns that the medication may contain a cancer-causing chemical that’s also been detected in certain blood pressure medications.
Is omeprazole the same as Zantac?
No, The drugs are in different drug classes. Zantac is a H2 (histamine-2) and Prilosec (omeprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). Both Zantac and Prilosec are available over-the-counter (OTC) and in generic form.
Is coffee bad for acid reflux?
Yes, coffee is bad for acid reflux. Caffeinated food and beverages can increase the acidity of gastric secretions. To decrease the acidity of these secretions, it is best to minimize the amount of caffeine in your diet. Caffeine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, triggering acid reflux or making it worse.
The substitutes in this article are a perfect fit for drugs to use other than the banned Zantac. If you haven’t started any medication with Zantac, consider any from this list. However, People who want to switch medications should speak with their medical providers before stopping any medications.