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How Do H2 Blockers Work?


Updated April 24, 2008

Question: How Do H2 Blockers Work?

Cells in the stomach, called a parietal cells, make acid. These cells, found in the stomach lining, are stimulated in a number of ways to produce acid. One of these methods is histamine receptors. H2 Receptor blockers reduce acid production by blocking signals that tell the stomach to make acid. There are four drugs that work by this mechanism in the United States. They are Zantac (ranitidine), Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (cimetidine) and Axid (nizatidine).

For more information on these medications, and others, please go to Drugs A to Z.


"Pharmacodynamic Aspects of Hz-Blockers versus proton Pump Inhibitors." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 22 Apr 2008.

"Understanding Some of the Medications Often Prescribed for GERD & Ulcers." Common GI Problems: Volume 1. American College of Gastroenterology. 22 Apr 2008.

Kenneth R. DeVault M.D., F.A.C.G., and Donald O. Castell M.D., M.A.C.G., "Updated Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease." doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2005.41217.x. American College of Gastroenterology. 22 Apr 2008.

"Effectiveness of Therapies for GERD" American College of Gastroenterology. 22 Apr 2008.

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