Clinical Pharmacokinetics

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 493–510

Interactions and Non-interactions with Ranitidine


  • W. Kirch
    • Medical DepartmentUniversity of Essen School of Medicine
    • Department of GastroenterologyKlinikum Charlottenburg
  • H. Hoensch
    • Medical DepartmentUniversity of Essen School of Medicine
    • Department of GastroenterologyKlinikum Charlottenburg
  • H. D. Janisch
    • Medical DepartmentUniversity of Essen School of Medicine
    • Department of GastroenterologyKlinikum Charlottenburg
Review Articles

DOI: 10.2165/00003088-198409060-00002

Cite this article as:
Kirch, W., Hoensch, H. & Janisch, H.D. Clin Pharmacokinet (1984) 9: 493. doi:10.2165/00003088-198409060-00002


At present, there are two H2-receptor antagonists available for the treatment of peptic ulcer disease — cimetidine and ranitidine. Cimetidine is well known to interact with a number of concurrently administered drugs. Like cimetidine, ranitidine binds to cytochrome P-450 in the liver where it appears to exert an inhibitory effect, but to a lesser extent than cimetidine. Both H2-receptor antagonists may also reduce hepatic blood flow.

Several drugs which are known to interact with cimetidine have been found not to interact significantly with ranitidine, including propranolol, lignocaine, phenytoin and diazepam. However, significant pharmacokinetic interactions between ranitidine and several other drugs have been established. These interactions may be attributed variously to an effect of ranitidine on hepatic metabolism or to an effect on the absorption of concomitantly administered drugs. For example, the bioavailability of midazolam is significantly increased due to the influence of ranitidine on gastric pH and thus on absorption of midazolam, leading to an increased soporific effect of this benzodiazepine; an effect of ranitidine on oxidative liver metabolism also appears to be a contributory factor in this interaction. Conversely, ranitidine distinctly reduced protein-bound cobalamin absorption from a mean of 7.66% prior to ranitidine administration to 0.84% during treatment with ranitidine 300mg daily.

A significant pharmacokinetic interaction has also been demonstrated between ranitidine and procainamide: the AUC of procainamide increased and the renal clearance fell significantly from a mean of 378 to 309 ml/min with ranitidine co-administration. However, this interaction is due to a different mechanism. In this case, ranitidine appears to compete with procainamide for the common renal proximal tubular secretion site.

The reported interactions of ranitidine with warfarin, metoprolol, nifedipine, theophylline and fentanyl appear to be due to inhibition of cytochrome P-450. In a clinical study, warfarin clearance was significantly reduced from 66.7 to 48.7 ml/min by ranitidine, and by cimetidine to 42.9 ml/min. Similarly, the elimination half-lives of metoprolol and nifedipine were distinctly prolonged and the AUCs significantly increased by ranitidine. However, the latter pharmacokinetic interactions appear unlikely to be of clinical significance since the clinical effects of metoprolol and nifedipine were unaffected by ranitidine treatment. In therapeutic concentrations, ranitidine inhibited the disappearance of fentanyl from an in vitro microsomal preparation, indicating that it inhibits microsomal drug metabolism. In rat experiments, ranitidine also significantly reduced alcohol elimination by 19% (p < 0.01).

The bioavailability of ranitidine itself was decreased by 33% due to concurrent administration of an aluminium-magnesium hydroxide antacid preparation (p < 0.05), and increased by propantheline (p < 0.05). The anticholinergic drug pirenzepine also produced a pharmacodynamic interaction with ranitidine, potentiating the inhibitory effect of the latter on gastric acid secretion.

Thus present data show that ranitidine is involved in drug interactions which may be of clinical relevance. Adverse drug interactions can be avoided by careful monitoring of treated patients and adjustment of the dosage where appropriate.

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© ADIS Press Limited 1984