GERD Medications: Negative Effects Of Zantac In The Body

6 mins read

The Zantac recall is one of the most prominent concerns facing the medical industry today. With so many patients once dependent on Zantac, the effects of it have been widespread. Conventional medication for heartburn and GERD, Zantac was a commonly-prescribed drug. If you’re not familiar with this brand, perhaps you may have come across its generic name, ranitidine. These two are actually one and the same.

Despite its effectiveness in curbing GERD and heartburn, Zantac was found to present significant risks with long term use, such as possible cases of Zantac causing cancer. What are the other effects of Zantac in the body? Read on below to find out.

Increases The Risk Of Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung disease that causes inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs. With this condition, chest x-rays show results with fluid or pus in the lungs as a complication. When a patient has pneumonia, it might be accompanied by a cough with phlegm, fever, and chills. In the worst cases, difficulty in breathing may also occur.

Mostly, however, pneumonia is generally treatable and manageable, but it can take a serious turn in younger children or the elderly. If you’ve experienced any underlying health problems while taking Zantac and noticed apparent symptoms of pneumonia, seek the advice of a doctor immediately. Sometimes pneumonia might be a reason for taking ranitidine. Common symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Confusion, in older people
  • Cough with greenish, yellowish or in the worst cases, bloody phlegm
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever, sweating, and chills
  • Loss of appetite, weakness, and fatigue


Headaches can be a common occurrence for many. In their milder stages, headaches are not considered severe or life-threatening conditions. It’s when they become frequent and cause greater discomfort that it becomes hard to turn a blind eye on them. The headaches are often clustered around one part of the face or skull.

When headaches start causing more and more discomfort, patients can have difficulty attending to their daily tasks. As a result, they may lose productivity at work and even at school.


Constipation is also a common side effect of taking ranitidine. This refers to infrequent bowel movements that are also characterized by pain each time the patient has to pass stool. This can last for several weeks or longer, and for patients who suffer from constipation, the bowel movements are only limited to three times a week or less. Common symptoms of constipation include the following:

  • Needing help in emptying the rectum, such as using your hands to press on your abdomen or stomach
  • Passing fewer than three stools each week
  • Feeling that you’re unable to empty your rectum completely
  • Hard stools, which cause pain


Just as Zantac can cause constipation in some patients, in others it can also cause the opposite: diarrhea. Abnormally soft and watery stools characterize diarrhea. In most cases, this is mild, but in the worst cases, it can also be potentially life-threatening as it can lead to dehydration.


Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that universally affects patients all over the world. Prolonged use of Zantac can also cause patients to develop insomnia. This sleep disorder refers to the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep. In simpler terms, it’s the lack of the ability to sleep like a baby. This can put a strain on your energy levels even early in the morning. Common symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Ongoing worries about sleep
  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Increased accidents at work
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Difficulty in paying attention and focusing

To Avoid These Side Effects, What Are Other Better Ways To Control GERD?

Now that you know the side effects of Zantac, you shouldn’t become dependent on this medication even if no recall had occurred. To be safe, also minimize the use of other medicines that may have the same chemical composition as Zantac or ranitidine. There are numerous other natural ways for you to control GERD, and these include the following:

  • Eating smaller meals
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothes
  • Not laying down for a few hours immediately after eating
  • Elevating the head of your bed
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight


Zantac, the brand version of ranitidine, is a widespread medicine used all over the world. In recent years, however, it has faced severe scrutiny due to its long-term adverse health effects, which include cancer. This led to the worldwide recall of Zantac. If you’re one of the many who may have taken it for prolonged periods in the past, the above-mentioned are only some of the possible effects that Zantac might have had on your body. Given so many adverse effects of drugs, the next time you feel any symptoms it would be better for you to treat them naturally instead, or through medications that don’t have the same composition as ranitidine. In addition, always seek expert medical advice from your doctor.

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