Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available

Tagamet

(Cimetidine)

Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available
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Relieves heartburn and acid tummy.

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Our bottom line

Tagamet (Cimetidine) works well for heartburn but may not last as long or start working as quickly as other antacids.

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Upsides

  • Most people can take Cimetidine without any noticeable day-to-day side effects.
  • Cimetidine lasts longer than many other antacids like Maalox and Tums, and you only need to take it once or twice a day.
  • You can take it in combination with a quick-acting antacid (like Maalox or Tums) if you need relief right away.
  • Available as both a generic and over-the-counter option, so it's pretty affordable.
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Downsides

  • Other antacids like Maalox, Tums, or Rolaids often start to work more quickly than Cimetidine.
  • Medication like omeprazole (proton pump inhibitors) works better at healing and preventing stomach ulcers than medication like Cimetidine (H2 blockers).
  • Has more drug interactions than zantac and pepcid.
  • Although rare, Cimetidine can cause large breasts or impotence for men who need to use high doses for 6 months or more. It's reversible though and should go away when you stop or if you change medication.
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Side effect rates for Tagamet (Cimetidine)

From clinical trials of Tagamet / GI ulcer
  • Abnormally large breasts in males

Risks and Warnings for Tagamet (Cimetidine)

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  • Heartburn and feelings of upset stomach can be warning signs of a more serious stomach problem or cancer. If you need to take Tagamet (Cimetidine) for 2 weeks or more go see a doctor. It's safest to get checked out to make sure you do not have a serious stomach condition.

Common concerns from people taking Tagamet (Cimetidine)

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Pregnancy
Interactions
  • Has more drug interactions than zantac and pepcid.
Kidneys and liver
  • People with kidney disease may need to take a lower dose.