H2 blockers are medicines that work by reducing the amount of stomach acid secreted by glands in the lining of your stomach.
H2 blockers are used to:
There are different names and brands of H2 blockers. Most work equally as well. Side effects may vary from drug to drug.
H2 blockers are most often taken by mouth. You can get them in the form of tablets, liquids, or capsules.
H2 blockers may be bought in lower doses at the store without a prescription. If you find yourself taking these most days for acid reflux symptoms for 2 weeks or more, make sure you see your doctor about your symptoms.
If you have a peptic ulcer, your doctor may prescribe H2 blockers along with two or three other medicines for up to 2 weeks.
If your doctor prescribed these medicines for you:
Side effects from H2 blockers are rare.
If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking these medicines. If you have kidney problems, do not use famotidine without talking to your doctor
Tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking. H2 blockers may change the way certain drugs work. This problem is less likely with cimetidine and nizatidine.
Call your doctor if:
Peptic ulcer disease - H2 blockers; PUD - H2 blockers; Gastroesophageal reflux - H2 blockers
Katz PO, Gerson LB, Vela MF. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108:308-328.
Richter JE, Friedenberg FK. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 43.
Updated by: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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