H2 Blockers – Role in Acid Prevention

Drugs containing

H2 blockers

or the H2 (


) antagonist help in reducing the production of stomach acids that can cause indigestion problems (dyspepsia). These drugs are available over-the-counter in US, although in low doses.

Tagamet HB







are some of the trade names under which these H2 blocking drugs are available.

H2 Blockers:

Although not as fast as antacids, these drugs are still useful in relieving the symptoms of a heartburn or a sore stomach. In fact, the effects of these H2 blocking drugs are long lasting when compared to antacids.

  • Histamine2 plays a very important role in telling the stomach to produce acids. But the H2 antagonists, block the receptor signals of histamine2 there by, not allowing the stomach to reduce its acid production.
  • People suffering from peptic ulcers esophagitis (inflammation or swelling of the esophagus) and gastroesophagal reflux disease (GERD) are usually prescribe these drugs are they can avail them over-the-counter.

Prescription and Non-Prescription Forms:

The following are the drugs that are available only on prescription (higher doses)-

  • Pepcid
  • Tagamite
  • Zantac
  • Axid

As mentioned above, the non-prescription forms are available only in lower doses and they are-

  • Axid AR
  • Tagment-HB
  • Pepcid-AC

Antacids v H2 Antagonists:

The drugs belonging to both the classes are for one purpose; to reduce the symptoms of gastric disorders or acidity. But the manner in which the drugs belonging to these classes work are different.

As mentioned above, h2 antagonists block histamine2 from telling the stomach to produce more acid. On the other hand, antacids act as bases and try to balance the overall pH level so that the hyperactivity of acids is stopped.

Side-Effects of H2 Blockers:

The side-effects of these drugs are minimal and they are-

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • headache

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