Ranitidine for acid reflux

This leaflet is about the use of ranitidine for acid reflux.

Information Standard quality markThis leaflet has been written specifically about the use of this medicine in children. The information may differ from that provided by the manufacturer. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Name of drug

Ranitidine
Brand names:
Ranitic®, Zantac®

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

In acid reflux, the contents of the stomach come back up (reflux) into the food pipe, which is painful and can damage the food pipe. Ranitidine reduces the amount of acid in the stomach, which reduces the symptoms of acid reflux.

What is ranitidine available as?

  • Tablets: 150 mg (creamish yellow), 300 mg (white to yellow)
  • Dispersible tablets: 150 mg, 300 mg (pale yellow); these tablets may contain aspartame or sodium (check with your pharmacist)
  • Liquid medicine: 75 mg in 5 mL; may contain a small amount of alcohol

When should I give ranitidine?

Ranitidine may be given once, twice or three times each day. Your doctor will tell you how often to give it.

  • Once a day: this can be in the morning OR the evening.
  • Twice a day: this should be once in the morning and once in the evening. Ideally, these times are 10–12 hours apart, for example some time between 7 and 8 am, and between 7 and 8 pm.
  • Three times each day: this should be once in the morning, once in the early afternoon and once in the evening. Ideally, these times are at least 6 hours apart, for example 8 am, 2 pm and 8 pm.

Give the medicine at about the same time(s) each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of ranitidine (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give it?

Tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water, milk or juice. Your child should not chew the tablet.

Dispersible tablets should be dissolved in 10 mL of water (two medicine spoons). Gently stir this mixture into a small amount of fruit (such as apple, orange or pineapple), or into apple sauce or yoghurt. Do not use milk, fizzy water or other fizzy drinks. Your child should eat/drink all the mixture straight away.

Liquid medicine: Measure out the right amount using a medicine spoon or oral syringe. You can get these from your pharmacist. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.

When should the medicine start working?

The medicine will give some relief from acid reflux after about 2 hours. However, it works best when given regularly. It is therefore important that you continue to give ranitidine every day, as prescribed by your doctor, even if your child feels well.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of ranitidine, give them the same dose again.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of ranitidine, you do not need to give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

What if I forget to give it?

If you usually give it once a day: Give the missed dose when you remember, as long as this is at least 12 hours before the next dose is due.

If you usually give it twice each day: If you remember up to 4 hours after you should have given a dose, give your child the missed dose. For example, if you usually give a dose at about 7 am, you can give the missed dose at any time up to 11 am. If you remember after that time, do not give the missed dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

If you usually give it three times each day: Do not give the missed dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

What if I give too much?

Ranitidine is normally a safe drug and is unlikely to cause any problems if you give an extra dose by mistake. If you worried that you may have given your child too much ranitidine, contact your doctor or NHS Direct (0845 46 47 in England and Wales; 08454 24 24 24 in Scotland). Have the medicine or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

Your child may get the following side-effects when they first start taking ranitidine but they should wear off. If they are still a problem after a week or so, contact your doctor.

  • They may have stomach pain, feel sick (nausea) or be sick (vomit) or they may get diarrhoea. It may help to take each dose with some food.
  • They may get headaches.
  • They may feel dizzy or light-headed when they stand up, or may faint. This is because ranitidine may lower the blood pressure. Encourage them to stand up slowly, and to sit or lie down if they feel dizzy or light-headed. If this happens often, contact your doctor to check your child’s blood pressure.
  • They may get a rash. It may help to apply a soothing emollient cream. If the rash continues after a few days, contact your doctor.
  • They may feel tired.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as ranitidine?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give the medicine at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.

If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.

  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about ranitidine and about other medicines used to treat acid reflux.


You can also get useful information from:


Publication Date

9/12/2011

Copyright Disclaimer

Version 1.2, June 2011 (November 2011). © NPPG, RCPCH and WellChild 2011, all rights reserved. Reviewed by: June 2013.

The primary source for the information in this leaflet is the British National Formulary for Children. For details on any other sources used for this leaflet, please contact us through our website, www.medicinesforchildren.org.uk

We take great care to make sure that the information in this leaflet is correct and up-to-date. However, medicines can be used in different ways for different patients. It is important that you ask the advice of your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about something. This leaflet is about the use of these medicines in the UK, and may not apply to other countries. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG), WellChild and the contributors and editors cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information, omissions of information, or any actions that may be taken as a consequence of reading this leaflet.