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Cimetidine HCl (Tagamet®)

By: Dr. Mark Papich

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  • Cimetidine HCl is an anti-ulcer drug of the histamine receptor-2 (H-2) blocker class.
  • Cimetidine and other H-2 blockers are useful for the treatment and prevention of stomach and intestinal ulcers. Other drugs with similar actions include ranitidine (Zantac®), nizatidine (Axid®) and famotidine (Pepcid®).
  • Cimetidine and other drugs of this class block the histamine H-2 receptor that stimulates stomach acid secretion. Thus, cimetidine blocks acid secretion in the stomach to provide a more favorable stomach pH (acidity).
  • Cimetidine is available over the counter but should not be administered unless under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Tagamet® (SK-Beecham) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Cimetidine

  • Cimetidine is used in the treatment and prevention of stomach and intestinal ulcers.
  • Cimetidine may be useful in the treatment of stomach inflammation caused by kidney failure.
  • Another use is management of acid reflux disease to reduce injury to the esophagus.
  • Dogs and cats with mast cell tumors may be treated with cimetidine or a related drug because these tumors can produce large amounts of histamine.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, cimetidine can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Cimetidine should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Cimetidine should be used with caution in animals with liver or kidney disease.
  • Cimetidine may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with cimetidine. Such drugs include certain antacids, metoclopramide, sucralfate, digoxin and diazepam.

    How Cimetidine Is Supplied

  • Cimetidine is supplied in 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg and 300 mg tablets.
  • This drug is also available in 300 mg per 5 ml liquid.
  • Cimetidine is also available in prescription injectable form in 150 mg/ml concentration.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The typical dose administered to animals is 3 to 5 mg per pound (5 to 10 mg/kg) orally every six to eight hours.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.

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