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How ZANTAC® Works to Relieve Heartburn Symptoms

ZANTAC® works to provide fast and lasting relief of the burning and discomfort of heartburn, acid indigestion, upset stomach and sour stomach45.

It does this thanks to its active ingredient ranitidine. Zantac contains a non-prescription dose of ranitidine for day or night use, which decreases the acid your stomach makes to digest food.

How ZANTAC® Stops Heartburn:


How Zantac works infographic

Ranitidine in ZANTAC® belongs to a group of drugs called Histamine 2 (H2) Blockers, also known as Histamine 2 Receptor Antagonists (H2RAs). This group of drugs helps relieve heartburn symptoms by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces in response to histamine. This is how they do it: 

Your stomach produces excess acid – This acid is produced in response to histamine released in the stomach. Histamine interacts with the cells in your stomach, known as the parietal cells, stimulating the production of acid.

Your esophagus is irritated – You feel heartburn when acid from your stomach escapes your stomach and irritates your esophagus.

The H2 Blockers take effect – H2 Blockers such as ZANTAC® interrupt the process by which histamine interacts with the cells in your stomach that produce acid. 

There is less acidity – Reducing the production of acid, in turn, decreases the amount of acid that can be regurgitated during reflux, bringing acid production control for up to 12 hours.

When are they most effective?

The way that H2 Blockers such as ZANTAC® work means you can use them both in response to heartburn, or as a pre-emptive measure.

Their rapid onset of action means they can be used “on demand” or “ad hoc” by patients with  non-chronic heartburn(i.e. symptoms less than 3 times per week).

H2RAs [H2 Blockers] can be taken with or without food. H2RAs taken before eating prevent heartburn by suppressing acid production before the body can secrete acid in the response to having a meal. 

What about other options for Heartburn Treatment?

H2 Blockers aren’t the only type of heartburn treatment available. Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors can also be taken to relieve heartburn symptoms. Learn more about the differences which makes more sense for you here.

There’s also a variety of simple tactics you can adopt to help reduce or prevent heartburn. Find out more about what else you can be doing here.


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Learn more about ZANTAC® heartburn relief products and how they can help relieve your heartburn symptoms fast.

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Learn about ZANTAC® heartburn relief products to choose the best one for your symptoms.