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If you experience the burning sensations of gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly called GERD, your doctor may recommend a prescription for Tagamet or generic Cimetidine to help calm the acid production in your stomach. Tagamet can also be taken to help intestinal and stomach ulcers from returning after they have healed. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Excess stomach acid may cause trouble swallowing, a persistent cough, and interrupt your sleep. You don’t necessarily have to give up alcohol, citrus fruits, tomatoes, coffee, or the foods you enjoy when you take Tagamet, but a lifestyle change could do you good with exercising and eating a healthy and balanced meal.
Tagamet is an H2 blocker; H is for histamine. Your stomach contains parietal cells that are responsible for secreting acid as a way to kill bacteria and to solubilize the food you eat so it can be digested. Histamine is one of the substances that stimulate the parietal cells to start secreting hydrochloric acid. Some people may produce more acid than others; this can cause the burning feeling in your stomach and throat and can damage your stomach lining and form ulcers or lesions. Tagamet blocks the signals that histamine sends to produce acid so your food can be digested and any existing damage can begin to heal.
Many people are unaware that they have an ulcer, while others may feel nauseous or bloated. The most common reasons for developing an ulcer is through long-term use of a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID) or from the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium that could live in your stomach as part of your natural flora. Testing will determine what is causing your ulcers and you may be required to take Tagamet with an antibiotic to kill any bacteria and help heal the sores they caused.
The ulcers caused by NSAIDs can occur because one of the effects of these drugs is to inhibit the cyclo-oxygenase enzyme (COX) from producing prostaglandins. These are a part of the maintenance team that help to keep the lining of your stomach healthy and protected by maintaining proper gastric mucosa. This continual inhibition can result in the gastric acid irritating your stomach lining and causing ulcers and lesions.
People with a very rare condition called Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome can also benefit from Tagamet as this condition over-produces stomach acid and can cause ulcers and tumors in your stomach and intestine.
Ask your doctor about the safety of Tagamet if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding. Tell your doctor about other medical conditions or allergies you have and list any OTC or Rx drugs you are on, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements, in case there are any contraindications.
Do not drive or participate in any activities that may be considered unsafe until you know how Tagamet will affect you. If you are also taking drugs for a bacterial infection, talk to your doctor about the best time to take Tagamet. If you smoke tobacco or consume alcohol, you can irritate your ulcer so Tagamet will not work as effectively.