Tagamet OTC

 
May 9, 2011
 

Tagamet OTC is the over the counter version of a medication that was only previously available by prescription from a physician. This medication, which is the brand name form of cimetidine, was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for over the counter distribution in 1994, and has since, remained one of the top treatments for gastric ulcers and acid reflux, as well as GERD and the related symptoms like heartburn, frequent belching and stomach upset.

Who Uses Tagamet OTC

Tagamet OTC is designed for use by individuals ages 12 and over. Younger children should not use such medications without seeing a physician first.  Older adults who develop heartburn, ulcers or other conditions for which Tagamet is a common treatment protocol, should also see a physician. Any individual who takes other prescription medications should see a physician or at least consult a pharmacist to rule out drug interactions before starting any new over the counter medication.

Tagamet OTC is commonly used to treat sour or upset stomach, ulcers, and GERD or acid reflux. Acid reflux is the non-clinical term for GERD, which is gastroesophageal reflux disease. This condition is accompanied by heartburn, chest pain, nausea, belching, and bad breath.

Severe cases of GERD can also lead to acid making its way into the mouth and the sinuses on occasion. These cases often require long term medical intervention, including taking maintenance medications like Tagamet.

Dosage

Tagamet OTC is recommended to be taken for no longer than two weeks at a time, unless otherwise prescribed by a physician. It should also be taken at no more than 400 mg in a 24 hour timeframe, unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor.

Long term symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux, GERD or ulcers require you to see a physician to treat appropriately and to rule out other more serious health concerns.

Cautions

Tagamet is in the same class as other proton pump inhibitor medications, which come with certain cautions concerning both short and long term use. Certain age categories of patients also have additional cautions when taking Tagamet OTC.

Patients who take other prescription medications should consult a physician before starting any over the counter medication, including Tagamet. Particularly those patients who have asthma, heart conditions or seizures should take caution before staring Tagamet.  Patients who take blood thinners are particularly at risk, with an increased chance of heart attack.

Patients over the age of 50 may be more prone to bone fractures, with patients age 75 and older being specifically cautioned against the potential for increased breaks in wrist, hip and spine bones.  Older patients must also be concerned with the increased chance of developing colitis and infectious forms of diarrhea due to more bacteria entering the intestines rather than being killed off by stomach acids.

Common side effects of Tagamet OTC include headache, dry mouth and minor stomach pains, in addition to constipation and diarrhea. Persistent abdominal pain and swelling in the belly are more serious side effects that require a doctor’s visit, as they can indicate a more serious underlying medical condition.