Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 36, Issue 10, pp 1390–1394

Effect of cimetidine on marathon-associated gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding

  • Frank M. Moses
  • Robert S. Baska
  • David A. Peura
  • Patricia A. Deuster
Original Articles


Occult gastrointestinal bleeding occurs in 8–30% of marathon runners. We hypothesized that cimetidine would decrease bleeding by reducing acid-mediated injury and conducted a blinded, placebo-controlled prospective trial to determine the impact of cimetidine on gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding during a marathon. Thirty participants in the 1989 Marine Corps or New York City marathons completed pre- and postrace: (1) a questionnaire evaluating demographic, medication usage, training history, and gastrointestinal symptoms; (2) three consecutive stool Hemoccult (HO) cards; and (3) a stool Hemoquant (HQ). Fourteen runners (CR) took 800 mg of cimetidine by mouth 2 hr before the start and 16 runners (PR) took placebo. Three subjects were HO+ prerace and were not analyzed. Three subjects failed to take drug as directed and were analyzed as PR. Five of 14 PR and two of 13 CR were HO+ postrace (P>0.05). Prerace HQ values (PR: 1.49 ±0.6 and CR: 0.60±0.1 mg hemoglobin/g stool) were not significantly different from postrace HQ values (PR:0.73±0.2 and CR:0.86±0.2 mg Hgb/g stool). Despite postrace HO+ conversion, no individual postrace HQ became abnormal. The frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms was similar for CR and PR, as well as HO- and HO+ individuals. Cimetidine did not significantly affect occult gastrointestinal bleeding as measured by HO or HQ results. This suggests that marathon-associated gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding may be due to lesions other than acid-mediated disease or hemorrhagic gastritis.

Key Words

gastrointestinal bleeding cimetidine running 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank M. Moses
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Robert S. Baska
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • David A. Peura
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Patricia A. Deuster
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Gastroenterology ServiceWalter Reed Army Medical CenterWashington, DC
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryWalter Reed Army Medical CenterWashington, DC
  3. 3.Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Military MedicineUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesda

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