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Difference Between Omeprazole And Ranitidine

difference between omeprazole and ranitidine

What are the differences between Prilosec and Zantac?

Prilosec (omeprazole) and Zantac (ranitidine) are for the treatment of conditions such as ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) caused by stomach acid. Both drugs work in different ways to reduce stomach acid.

Prilosec and Zantac are both available over-the-counter (OTC).

Prilosec is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that blocks the production of acid by the stomach. Zantac works differently. It is an H2 (histamine-2) blocker that inhibits the action of histamine on the cells, thus reducing the production of acid by the stomach.

Common side effects of Prilosec and Zantac that are similar include diarrhea, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

Side effects of Prilosec that are different from Zantac include rash and dizziness.

Side effects of Zantac that are different from Prilosec include constipation, fatigue, and insomnia.

How they work

Prilosec is a brand name for the generic drug omeprazole. It works by blocking the pumps in your stomach that produce acid. Zantac is a brand name for a different generic drug, ranitidine. Zantac blocks a chemical in your body called histamine that activates the acid pumps.


Prilosec and Zantac come in tablet, capsule, and liquid forms that you take by mouth. For either drug, the typical length of treatment is two to eight weeks, depending on what you’re treating. These drugs are used to treat similar conditions, including:

  • heartburn
  • stomach upset
  • GERD
  • stomach or duodenal ulcers
  • erosive esophagitis
  • hypersecretory conditions
  • peptic ulcers caused by certain types of cancer

In addition, Prilosec can also treat H. pylori infection and Barrett’s esophagus.

Side Effects

Common side effects for Prilosec include constipation, gas, nausea, vomiting and headache. Rare but severe side effects include excessive tiredness, dizziness, lightheadedness, muscle spasms, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, seizures, diarrhea with watery stools, stomach pain, fever and irregular, fast, or pounding heartbeat.

Zantac may have side effects like headache, dizziness, constipation or diarrhea. Rare but severe side effects include blurred vision, easy bleeding or bruising, enlarged breasts, severe tiredness, severe stomach or abdominal pain, dark urine and yellowing skin or eyes. Other severe side effects include mental or mood changes such as agitation, confusion, depression, and hallucinations; changes in heartbeat; and signs of infection such as fever, persistent sore throat and cough.


Patients allergic to the following drugs should not take Prilosec: omeprazole, dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix) and rabeprazole (Aciphex). Patients should also warn their doctors if they have a history of liver disease. Patients with allergies to ranitidine should not take Zantac. They should warn their doctors if they have a history of porphyria, phenylketonuria or kidney or liver disease.

Talk with your doctor

Prilosec and Zantac are similar in many ways. However, some of their key differences may include:

  • the serious side effects they may cause
  • the drugs they may interact with
  • the medical conditions they may cause problems with

If you’d like to know more about Prilosec or Zantac, talk to your doctor. They can answer any questions you may have and help you decide if one of these drugs is a good choice for you.

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