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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Tagamet

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 03/16/2000]
Question: what is cimetidine

Answer: This is a H2 blocker, designed to block the secretion of acid from the stomach. It is a histamine blocker and occasionally used in the treatment of other histamine disorders like Systemic Mastocytosis but, usually to decrease acid production to treat ulcers/dyspepsia/reflux and the like.

[posted 01/14/2000]
Question: Does the drugs zantac and tagamet have any effect on hormone levels at all?

Answer: Tagamet has had an effect on decreasing testerone levels, I am not aware of similar problems with zantac.

[posted 12/27/1999]
Question: I have been suffering from acid reflux/heartburn occasionally for over a year - sometimes I get pain every day, then for weeks am okay. I am 31 years old and in good health generally but on several occasions the pain has been so intense that I have lost consciousness. I have consulted my doctor twice but on confirming that I am under some stress at work was simply told to avoid spicy foods and prescribed nothing. After reading, I have gained some control by using Tagamet bought over the counter and by eating little and often. However, I am concerned that I am merely controlling symptoms when there could be a more serious underlying problem. Is it alright for me to continue with the Tagamet or should I return to my doctor yet again?

Answer: The Tagamet is fine. Taking it at 300 mg twice a day would be prescription doses and I suspect you will get better control at this dosage. Your doctor hasn't done any evaluation at all of this problem. Unusual, in a young man, get a new doctor.

[posted 08/30/1999]
Question: I've been labeled a "rapid metabolizer" of methadone,which I take for opiod addiction. Currently, I'm on 250mg QD but my blood plasma levels are very low and I have withdrawal symptoms. My dr prescribed Tagamet to incr the meth levels which worked great but I gained over 25 lbs in 1 month and chose to discontinue the tagamet because of the weight gain and feeling very lethargic. Now my meth levels are again plummeting and the dr wants to try klonopin to increase my meth levels. Have you ever heard of this use for klonopin and do you think it might work? Tagamet works by inhibiting a specific liver enzyme which increases the effective levels of many medications including meth. Will klonopin do the same? Lastly, do you think the tagamet was the cause of the wieght gain and lethargy or was it because I finally reached a therapeutic meth level?

Answer: I have not seen weight gain with Tagamet per se. I suspect it had to do with your methadone and your reaction to it.

Possible Side Effects of Tagamet [posted 8/14/98]
Question: My 8 year old stepdaughter began taking pediatric Tagamet (liquid form). She has been complaining about stomach problems at bedtime for several months on and off. Her doctor is seeing if the Tagamet will solve her problems before ordering further tests. Her mother doesn't want her taking Tagamet, claiming that it causes brain, kidney, and liver problems. I would appreciate finding out anything I can about possible side effects, especially on children.

Answer: Never formally tested on children, but used all the time by pediatricians and family doctors. Minimal/no side effects to this drug - the only reason the class was placed over the counter without prescription limitation. If you want a potentially safer drug use Zantac, but they are both incredibly well tolerated without problems.

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