The People's Perspective on Medicine



Axid is a popular treatment for ulcers that helps them clear up rapidly. It works in part by suppressing the secretion of stomach acid by blocking histamine receptors in the digestive tract (H2 receptors).

It is also used to treat the severe heartburn called reflux esophagitis, and may be prescribed as maintenance therapy to keep ulcers from coming back.

Side Effects and Interactions

Side effects associated with Axid are uncommon. Some people experience rash or anemia.

Other reactions reported occasionally include diarrhea, headache, dizziness, muscle aches and weakness. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Axid appears to interact with very few other medications compared to its predecessor Tagamet.

People who take high doses of aspirin may find blood levels of this salicylate increase if they start taking Axid as well. Check with your pharmacist and physician before taking other medicines in combination with Axid.

Special Precautions

Patients taking H2 blockers like Axid or Zantac have higher levels of certain microorganisms in their stomachs than would normally survive there.

Scientists do not yet know whether these bacteria have negative long-term consequences, but it appears that vitamin C and E might provide some measure of protection.

Axid is eliminated almost completely by the kidneys. People with kidney problems may need the doctor to adjust the dose downward.

Taking the Medicine

Axid is usually taken once a day at bedtime. Absorption is slightly lower when this capsule is taken with food, and antacids also reduce absorption slightly.

Axid tablets should be kept away from heat, cold, light and moisture. The container should be capped very tightly.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I can’t find AXID anywhere, and, when I looked at the Wyeth Consumer Healthcare website, I learned that it has been bought by Phitzer (if I spelled that right). Their website was not helpful. On the AXID container, it says it is essentially Nizatidine. Can I get that as a generic. Would my Kaiser Pharmacy have it? Is Zantac a good substitute? Or what other drug would you recommend. I recently quit taking “Prilosec.” Thanks, I’ve read your columns, books, etc., for years, and find them very helpful.
David KL

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