Ranitidine for acid reflux
This leaflet is for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information may differ from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information usually relates to adults. Read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.
Name of medicine
Brand names: Ranitic, Zantac
Why is it important for my child to take Ranitidine?
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: 75 mg, 150 mg, 300 mg
Dispersible tablets: 150 mg, 300 mg may contain aspartame or sodium; check with your pharmacist.
Liquid medicine: 75 mg or 150mg in 5 mL (may contain a small amount of alcohol); a sugar-free liquid is available.
The liquid medicine comes in two strengths. Make a note of which one you usually have and check that you have been given the right one each time.
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 7am and 8am, and between 7pm and 8pm.
- 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 8am, 2pm and 8pm.
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 Ranitidine?
- Tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water, squash or juice. Your child should not chew the tablet.
- Dissolve the tablet in a glass of water. You can add juice or squash to hide the taste. Your child should then drink it all either straight away or over a period of about 30 minutes. Your child should not chew these tablets.
- Shake the medicine well. Measure out the right amount using an oral syringe or a medicine spoon. 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, do not give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.
If your child is sick again, seek advice from your family doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or hospital. They will decide what to do based on your child’s condition and the specific medicine involved.
What if I forget to give it?
If you usually give it once a day in the morning: Give the missed dose when you remember during the day, as long as this is at least 12 hours before the next dose is due.
If you usually give it twice a 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 7am, you can give the missed dose at any time up to 11am. If you remember after that time, do not give the missed dose. Give the next dose as usual.
If you usually give it three or four times a day: You do not need to give the missed dose. Give the next dose as normal.
What if I give too much?
You are unlikely to cause harm if you give an extra dose of Ranitidine by mistake. If you are concerned that you may have given too much, contact your doctor or local NHS services (details at end of leaflet). 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).
Other side-effects you need to know about
- Your child may have stomach pain, feel sick (nausea) or be sick (vomit) or they may get diarrhoea or constipation (difficulty doing a poo). It may help to take each dose with some food.
- Your child may feel tired.
They may get headaches.
They may get a rash. It may help to apply a soothing cream that softens the skin. If the rash is uncomfortable or continues for a few days, contact your doctor.
They may feel light-headed or dizzy when they stand up, or may faint. This is because Ranitidine may lower the blood pressure. They should stand up slowly, and should lie down for a while if they feel dizzy. If this becomes a problem, contact your doctor.
There may sometimes be other side effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side effects to a UK safety scheme at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard
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 and complementary medicines.
General advice about medicines
- Try to give medicines 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 for advice.
- 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 medicines you have at home have 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.
- Some liquid medicine does not keep for long once opened. Write the date that you start it on the bottle and do not keep the medicine for longer than stated on the label.
- 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.
Version . © NPPG, RCPCH and WellChild, all rights reserved. Review by October 2022.
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.