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Tagamet

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Tagamet (cimetidine) is an H2 blocker that inhibits acid production in the stomach, thus reducing the overall amount of stomach acid. This has benefit in treating a number of conditions, either on their own or when more than one is present:

  • Treats ulcers in the stomach and intestine
  • Prevents healed ulcers from redeveloping
  • Treats gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Allows erosive esophagitis to heal
  • Treats heartburn or acid indigestion
  • Prevents heartburn or acid indigestion

The medication can be used in patients age 12 and up. Patients under age 12 will require modified dosing; check with a doctor before administrating Tagamet.

Tagamet Basics

Tagamet is an H2 blocker, which blocks the action of histamine in the stomach. This action ultimately leads to lowered production of stomach acid, beneficial in many conditions.

As an H2 blocker, Tagamet is similar to but distinct from proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole or pantoprazole. While all these medications lower stomach acid production, it's difficult to say which type works best for an individual; response to treatment varies for often unclear reasons. If Tagamet fails to provide relief it may be worth speaking with a doctor about alternative options; conversely, if a proton pump inhibitor fails to provide relief, Tagamet may be worth a try. H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors are among the most-sold medications in the world.

In many areas it's possible to buy Tagamet, or its generic equivalents, over-the-counter (OTC) in doses of 200 mg or lower. Higher doses, 400 mg and up, typically require a prescription. Lower 200 mg doses are usually fine for treating occasional heartburn, while higher doses are often (but not always) preferred to treat more serious conditions, such as GERD or ulcers.

Young children---especially those under age 12---are rarely given more than 200 mg in a single dose.

Taking Tagamet for Heartburn & Indigestion

In most case OTC versions of Tagamet are fine for treating heartburn and indigestion; in some cases of severe heartburn and indigestion, or when accompanied by initial symptoms of a more severe condition, Tagamet may be prescribed in higher doses. Treatment is very similar in all cases.

To relieve existing heartburn or indigestion:

  • Take one tablet with a glass of water.

To prevent heartburn or indigestion from developing:

  • Take one tablet with a glass of water up to 30 minutes prior to consuming the food or beverage that causes heartburn or indigestion.

In both cases:

  • Do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hours without doctor approval.
  • Do not use for more than 14 consecutive days without doctor approval.

Most patients find Tagamet works very well at alleviating or preventing heartburn and indigestion. Relief from existing heartburn or indigestion is very rapid, with effects starting in a minute or two---similar to relief from Tums or Rolaids.

Taking Tagamet for GERD, Ulcers, or Erosive Esophagitis

These are more serious conditions, which can ultimately lead to life-threatening complications if not addressed in one way or another. Medications like Tagamet are definitely useful, but patients may also wish to adjust diet or otherwise make lifestyle changes that will further alleviate these conditions. A doctor, who can take into account specific personal variables, can be very useful in this area.

It is in treating GERD, ulcers, esophagitis and similar conditions that higher doses of Tagamet are primarily used; doses of 400 mg to 800 mg are not unusual. While dosage, treatment schedule, and duration of treatment will ideally be determined by a doctor, there are some basic guidelines:

  • If taking just one dose per day, it is best taken at bedtime.
  • If taking two doses per day, one in the morning and one at bedtime is ideal.
  • If taking more than two doses per day, doses should be taken with meals (provided meals are spread out through the day) and one dose at bedtime.

Treatment for these conditions often extends past two weeks. Again a doctor can best determine duration.

Other Considerations

Some things to keep in mind while taking Tagamet to ensure treatment is hassle-free:

  • Wait at least one hour before or after taking Tagamet to take antacids.
  • Avoid large amounts of coffee while taking Tagamet.
  • Avoid large amounts of aspirin while taking Tagamet.
  • Try to not smoke during treatment; smoking can reduce the medication's effectiveness.

Numerous other medications can interfere with Tagamet; these include medications that influence heart rhythm, for asthma, for malaria, for cancer, and many others. Always double-check with a doctor or pharmacist before mixing medications.

If any of the above apply, or if Tagamet produces disruptive side effects, speak with a doctor about trying an alternative medication. There are many other options available.

Tagamet

400mg cimetidine  Buy Tagamet 60 Tablets - $61.19
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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.

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