Histamine-2 antagonists use the H2 receptors to block histamine in order to reduce the levels of gastric acid secretions. This is useful in treating various types of gastrointestinal disorders because the reduced acid helps to alleviate symptoms while healing the esophagus. These drugs are also called H2 blockers, acid reducers or H2 receptor antagonists. There are a number of different brands of histamine-2 antagonists on the market including over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Histamine-2 Antagonists Drugs
Some of the drugs in this class include:
Histamine-2 Antagonists Uses
Histamine-2 antagonists treat a number of disease. Some of the most common uses of this drug class are listed below.
- Acid reflux
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
- Peptic ulcers
- Stomach ulcers
These medications have also been found to be exhibit the extra benefits of assisting patients with hives, pancreatic problems and stomach or intestinal damage from trauma or stress.
Histamine-2 Antagonists Side Effects
Headaches are most often experienced with famotidine and ranitidine and side effects are rarely reported by patients taking cimetidine and nizatidine. Patients experiencing side effects indicative of an allergic reaction are advised to seek medical attention immediately. These signs include difficulty breathing and the swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue. Other possible side effects for histamine-2 antagonists include:
- difficulty urinating
- rashes and vomiting
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following reactions:
- difficulty swallowing
- passing bloody stools
- vomiting blood
- abdominal pain
Histamine-2 Antagonists Interactions
Prior to treatment, patients should report any allergies to any of these medications in addition to any other allergies that may present including food and seasonal allergies. Histamine-2 antagonists have been shown to work safely with the same set of possible side effects as the side effects for adults. Elderly patients can be particularly sensitive to these medications and experience such side effects as confusion and dizziness. Pregnant women should speak to their doctors about the risks and benefits of taking these medications. The same applies to women who are breastfeeding who face the possibility of experiencing even greater side effects including decreasing the stomach acid of the baby. Patients with specific ailments may experience interactions with these medications including patients of kidney disease or kidney complications, liver disease, phenylketonuria (PKU), porphyria and weaker immune health.
Cigarette smoking should be avoided as it increases stomach acid and thus reduces the efficacy of the medications. Foods that are stressful to the stomach should be avoided as well including citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy food, chocolate, fried foods, greasy foods, chocolate and carbonated drinks.
Drug interactions may occur with the following medications: