Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Side Effects Of Cimetidine

A friend reminded me to research the side effects and the long term effects of using Cimetidine. I think that is a fair request. I have done some research and found the following which may be of interest to cancer patients who are thinking of taking Cimetidine on a long term basis (up to two years) as a strategy to prevent cancer metastasis.

Obviously, two years is a long time for cancer patients and many may not be even able to reach this milestone (count from day of diagnosis) especially for advance stage cancer patients. For stage 4 cancer patients, the window of survival is really short. Under such premise, I for one would be more than willing to think out of the box. Compared to the tumors spreading to say the bones or liver, the side effects of Cimetidine are bearable. Cimetidine still offer some hope and the side effects when compared to the pain from the cancer, which to me are miles apart.

Still, it's the patient's choice.

Effects of Long Term Use of Cimetidine
Researches conducted randomized controlled clinical trial on forty-two patients with endoscopically diagnosed duodenal ulcer in a double-blind trial after their ulcers had been healed with cimetidine. Cimetidine was effective in preventing relapse, only five of the 20 patients allocated to cimetidine 400 mg twice daily relapsing during the six months' treatment, compared with 16 of the 22 on placebo treatment (P less than 0.01). Cimetidine was safe in the dosage and duration used, no symptomatic, haematological, or biochemical abnormalities occurring during the trial. Subsequent follow-up at the end of the trial when treatment had been stopped showed that relapse was frequent, particularly in the cimetidine group, making the cumulative relapse rate eight months after completion of the trial similar in the two groups (75% in the cimetidine group, 86% in the placebo group). It seems likely that maintenance cimetidine treatment has to be continued indefinitely in patients with duodenal ulcer, and, until such treatment is shown to be safe and effective, surgical treatment remains a logical option for many patients.

In another randomized clinical study, sixty patients who had been referred for elective ulcer surgery, and in whom a remission had been induced, entered a prospective double blind controlled trial of a single daily dose of 400 mg of cimetidine given at bedtime, or placebo. Eighty per cent of patients receiving placebo suffered symptomatic relapse and recurrence of duodenal ulceration at endoscopy within 6 months. The mean interval to relapse was 10 weeks. On the other hand, only 27 percent of patients had a recurrence during the 6-month period on low dose cimetidine therapy. No significant toxic or other side effects which could be attributed to the drug were observed.

The above reports were published by UK PubMed Central.

Sde effects
Cimetidine is generally taken without ill effect. Its side effects include dizziness and mild somnolence (at doses of 800–1600 mg/day), a reversible state of confusion (especially in the elderly with preexisting renal or hepatic disease), gastrointestinal upset, gynecomastia (may occur if treatment period is greater than 1 month), reversible dose-related increase in serum transaminases, and dose-related elevations in plasma creatinine.

Adverse reactions can occur with any drug, even over-the-counter medications. Some of these are mild such as a stomach upset, which may be avoided by taking the medication with food. Minor reactions may go away on their own but, if they persist, contact the physician. For major reactions, the patient should contact the physician immediately.

For cimetidine, the following are the observed side effects:

* breast swelling or tenderness in men
* headache
* rash
* diarrhea
* achy joints
* dizziness
* muscular pain
* hair loss
* reduced sexual potency
* reduced sperm count


* hallucinations or mental confusion (more common in the elderly)
* unusual fatigue
* fever
* sore throat
* shortness of breath
* abnormal skin bruising

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