Ranitidine is a member of the H-2 (histamine blocker) family of drugs, which prevents the release of acid into the stomach. Ranitidine is used to treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, erosive esophagitis, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Ranitidine is available as a prescription drug and also as a nonprescription over-the-counter product for relief of heartburn.
Folic acid is needed by the body to utilize vitamin B12. Antacids, including ranitidine, inhibit folic acid absorption.1 People taking antacids are advised to supplement with folic acid.
Stomach acid may facilitate iron absorption. H-2 blocker drugs reduce stomach acid and are associated with decreased dietary iron absorption.2 People with ulcers may also be iron deficient due to blood loss and benefit from iron supplementation. Iron levels in the blood can be checked with lab tests.
Stomach acid is needed to release vitamin B12 from food so it can be absorbed by the body. H-2 blocker drugs reduce stomach acid and are associated with decreased dietary vitamin B12 absorption.3 The vitamin B12 found in supplements is available to the body without the need for stomach acid. Lab tests can determine vitamin B12 levels.
1. Russell RM, Golner BB, Krasinski SD, et al. Effect of antacid and H2 receptor antagonists on the intestinal absorption of folic acid. J Lab Clin Med 1988;112:458–63.
2. Aymard JP, Aymard B, Netter P, et al. Haematological adverse effects of histamine H2-receptor antagonists. Med Toxicol Adverse Drug Exp 1988;3:430–48.
3. Aymard JP, Aymard B, Netter P, et al. Haematological adverse effects of histamine H2-receptor antagonists. Med Toxicol Adverse Drug Exp 1988;3:430–48.
Last Review: 11-07-2012
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