Ranitidine vs Omeprazole: Who Will Win This Struggle?

Ranitidine (Zantac) and Omeprazole (Prilosec) are both used to treat health conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease and ulcer. They both work differently to minimize stomach acid. Both medications are available over the counter. Ranitidine is a histamine-2 blocker that slows down the function of histamine on the cells thereby minimizing the production of stomach acid. Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor that obstructs the production of acid in the stomach. The common side effects of both drugs are almost the same and these include a headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Some adverse reactions that are common only with Ranitidine include fatigue, insomnia, and constipation. For Omeprazole, the common side effects are dizziness and rash.

Ranitidine and Omeprazole: What Are They?

Ranitidine is in a group of drugs known as histamine-2 (H2) blockers. This group of medications work by obstructing the production of acid in the stomach. Other drugs in this class include Cimetidine, Famotidine, and Nizatidine. Histamine is a chemical in the body that naturally occurs and stimulates the parietal cells in the stomach to produce stomach acid. Histamine-2 blockers slow down the function of histamine on the cells which in turn reduce the production of acid within the stomach. This helps to prevent and heal ulcers and acid induced inflammation.

Omeprazole belongs to a group of medications known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). This group of drugs works to block acid production in the stomach. Other medicines in this class include Rabeprazole, Lansoprazole, Esomeprazole, and Pantoprazole. These medications are used to treat health conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, Zollinger-Ellison disease, and ulcers. All these conditions are usually caused by stomach acid. Omeprazole helps to block the enzyme within the wall of the stomach that creates acid so that acid production can be minimized within the stomach. This helps the esophagus and stomach to heal over time.

Side Effects of Ranitidine and Omeprazole

As mentioned earlier, both medications have some similar side effects but each has its own peculiar adverse reactions. It is important to mention that it is impossible not to experience any side effects while using either of this medication and it is also possible to experience other effects that are not mentioned in this medication guide. Therefore, if you experience any adverse effects that make you feel uncomfortable, you should call your doctor immediately.

Common side effects that you may experience while taking Ranitidine include constipation, fatigue, diarrhea, headache, vomiting, muscle pain, insomnia, and nausea. Other severe but rare adverse effects include agitation, bleeding or easy bruising, confusion, anemia, hair loss, depression, hallucinations, visual changes, rash, irregular heartbeat, and yellowing of the eyes or skin.

Omeprazole is usually well tolerated by most patients. However, there are still some side effects that can be experienced while using the medication. These include nausea, diarrhea, headaches, vomiting, dizziness, and rash. Other severe but rare adverse effects include abnormal heartbeat, nervousness, leg cramps, muscle pain, water retention, and weakness. Omeprazole, like other PPIs, may increase the risk potential of Clostridium difficile infection. The long-term usage of over a year and high dosage may also increase the risk potential of osteoporosis related fractures of the spine, hip, or wrist. It can also reduce the absorption of Vitamin B-12 in the body. Prolonged use has also been reported to increase the risk of heart attacks and low level of magnesium. It is therefore crucial to use a low dosage for a short period of time when treating a health condition with the medication.

Dosage Information


This medication can be used with or without food. For the treatment of ulcer, a dose of 150mg is recommended to be taken twice daily. A dose of 300mg can also be prescribed to be taken once a day, preferably at bedtime. After some times, a maintenance dose of 150mg is recommended to be taken daily. For the treatment of erosive esophagitis, a dose of 150mg should be taken four times a day.

A total dosage of 6 grams daily may be prescribed for the treatment of Zollinger Ellison syndrome. For heartburn, a dose of 75mg twice daily or 150mg once daily can be prescribed and this should be taken before meal. If you are using the medication without a prescription, don't take it beyond 2 weeks. If your symptoms persist, it is recommended that you see your physician.


For the treatment of ulcers, erosive esophagitis, GERD, and H. pylori, a dose of 20-40mg is recommended to be taken daily. H. pylori are usually treated within 10 to 28 days with the aforementioned dose. The ulcer treatment with this dosage should be fully completed within four to eight weeks. Patients who have the risk of developing upper gastrointestinal bleeding should be given 40mg daily for a period of 14 days. The usual dose for the treatment of heartburn is 20mg daily for a period of two weeks.

The initial dose for adults treating Zollinger Ellison syndrome is 60mg per day but the dose can be adjusted based on the response to therapy. If a higher dose (usually more than 80mg) is prescribed, it is recommended that it be divided and taken twice a day. For maximum effect, it is recommended that this medication should be used before meal. It should be swallowed as a whole and should not be chewed, opened, or crushed.

Drug Interaction

Ranitidine may interfere with the absorption process of other medications that need acid to be properly absorbed in the body. For instance, iron sulphate, Ketoconazole (Extina, Kuric, Nizoral, Xolegel), and Sporanox (itraconazole) can interact with this medicine.

Omeprazole can increase blood concentrations in Coumadin (Warfarin), Valium (Diazepam), and Dilantin (phenytoin) by reducing the removal of these medications by the liver. Omeprazole can also interact with Nizoral (Ketoconazole), Lanoxin (Digoxin), Atazanavir, Nelfinavir, and Saguinavir.


Do not use either Ranitidine or Omeprazole if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing a baby without your doctor's approval. Ranitidine has been discovered to affect the foetus and also pass into breast milk. You should therefore not use it without your doctor's knowledge. There has been no report on the effect of Omeprazole on pregnancy and breast feeding. Therefore, do not use this drug baby without consulting your physician.