2011501945 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Cimetidine

    (sye met' i deen)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Cimetidine is used to treat ulcers; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which backward flow of acid from the stomach causes heartburn and injury of the food pipe (esophagus); and conditions where the stomach produces too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Over-the-counter cimetidine is used to prevent and treat symptoms of heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach. Cimetidine is in a class of medications called H2 blockers. It decreases the amount of acid made in the stomach.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Cimetidine comes as a tablet and a liquid to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day at bedtime or two to four times a day with meals and at bedtime. Over-the-counter cimetidine is usually taken once or twice a day with a glass of water. To prevent symptoms, it is taken within 30 minutes before eating or drinking foods that cause heartburn. Follow the directions on your prescription or the package label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take cimetidine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    Do not take over-the-counter cimetidine for longer than 2 weeks unless your doctor tells you to. If symptoms of heartburn, acid indigestion, or sour stomach last longer than 2 weeks, stop taking cimetidine and call your doctor.

    Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

    Cimetidine is also used sometimes to treat stress ulcers, hives and itching, and viral warts, and to prevent aspiration pneumonia during anesthesia. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
    This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking cimetidine,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cimetidine or any other medications.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); antidepressants (mood elevators) such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil); chlordiazepoxide (Librium); clopidogrel (Plavix), diazepam (Valium); lidocaine (Xylocaine); metronidazole (Flagyl); nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia); phenytoin (Dilantin); propranolol (Inderal); and theophylline (Theobid, Theo-Dur). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
    • if you are taking antacids (Maalox, Mylanta, Tums), digoxin (Lanoxin), ketoconazole (Nizoral), or iron salts, take them 2 hours before cimetidine.
    • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or kidney or liver disease.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking cimetidine, call your doctor.
    • talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking cimetidine if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually take cimetidine because it is not as safe as other medication(s) that can be used to treat the same condition.

    What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

    Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Cimetidine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • headache
    • diarrhea
    • dizziness
    • drowsiness
    • breast enlargement
    Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
    • confusion
    • excitement
    • depression
    • nervousness
    • seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)
    Cimetidine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Keep all appointments with your doctor.
    Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Tagamet®
    • Tagamet® HB
    • Tagamet® Tiltab®

    Cimetidine Hydrochloride Injection

    (sye met' i deen)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Your doctor has ordered cimetidine to decrease the amount of acid your stomach makes. It is used to treat and prevent ulcers and to treat other conditions in which the stomach makes too much acid. The drug will be injected into a large muscle (such as your buttock or hip); added to an intravenous fluid that will drip through a needle or catheter placed in your vein for at least 15 minutes, three or four times a day; or administered by constant infusion over 24 hours. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
    Your health care provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) may measure the effectiveness and side effects of your treatment using laboratory tests and physical examinations. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. The length of treatment depends on how you respond to the medication.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before administering cimetidine,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cimetidine or any other drugs.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially amitriptyline (Elavil), anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clopidogrel (Plavix)desipramine (Norpramin), diazepam (Valium), diuretics ('water pills'), imipramine (Tofranil), metronidazole (Flagyl), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), phenytoin (Dilantin), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur), triamterene (Dyrenium), and vitamins.
    • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking cimetidine, call your doctor.
    • talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using cimetidine injection if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually use cimetidine injection because it is not as safe as other medication(s) that can be used to treat the same condition.
    • remember to administer it slowly. If cimetidine is administered too rapidly, you may develop severe dizziness and faintness. Do not administer your cimetidine faster than directed. If you feel faint or dizzy, call your health care provider immediately.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Before you administer cimetidine, look at the solution closely. It should be clear and free of floating material. Gently squeeze the bag or observe the solution container to make sure there are no leaks. Do not use the solution if it is discolored, if it contains particles, or if the bag or container leaks. Use a new solution, but show the damaged one to your health care provider.
    It is important that you use your medication exactly as directed. Do not stop your therapy on your own for any reason. Do not change your dosing schedule without talking to your health care provider. Your health care provider may tell you to stop your infusion if you have a mechanical problem (such as a blockage in the tubing, needle, or catheter); if you have to stop an infusion, call your health care provider immediately so your therapy can continue.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Cimetidine may cause side effects. Tell your health care provider if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • constipation
    • diarrhea
    • muscle pain
    • drowsiness
    • breast enlargement and soreness
    If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your health care provider immediately:
    • mental confusion
    • skin rash
    • itching
    • hives
    • difficulty breathing
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    • Your health care provider probably will give you a several-day supply of cimetidine at a time. If you are receiving cimetidine intravenously (in your vein), you probably will be told to store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
    • Take your next dose from the refrigerator 1 hour before using it; place it in a clean, dry area to allow it to warm to room temperature.
    • If you are told to store additional cimetidine in the freezer, always move a 24-hour supply to the refrigerator for the next day's use.
    • Do not refreeze medications.
    If you are receiving cimetidine intramuscularly (in your muscle), your health care provider will tell you how to store it properly.
    Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand what you need to store your medication properly.
    Keep your supplies in a clean, dry place when you are not using them, and keep all medications and supplies out of reach of children. Your health care provider will tell you how to throw away used needles, syringes, tubing, and containers to avoid accidental injury.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

    What are the SIGNS OF AN INFECTION?

    If you are receiving cimetidine in your vein or under your skin, you need to know the symptoms of a catheter-related infection (an infection where the needle enters your vein or skin). If you experience any of these effects near your intravenous catheter, tell your health care provider as soon as possible:
    • tenderness
    • warmth
    • irritation
    • drainage
    • redness
    • swelling
    • pain

    Brand Names

    • Tagamet®
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