The People's Perspective on Medicine

Ranitidine bismuth subsalicylate

Overview

Tritec is prescribed together with Biaxin to eliminate the germs often responsible for ulcers, Helicobacter pylori.

It works in part by suppressing the secretion of stomach acid, but the combination of bismuth with the antibiotic also works to eradicate the bacteria.

One month of therapy with Tritec (the first two weeks in combination with Biaxin) usually gets rid of H. pylori and allows the ulcer to heal. Once the bacteria are gone, the ulcer does not recur.

Side Effects and Interactions

The combination of Biaxin and Tritec can cause taste disturbances, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting in some people.

Other less common adverse effects may include headache, itching, gynecological problems, sleep disorders, and chest pain or congestion.

Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

If antacids are needed for relief of ulcer pain, they should generally be taken at a different time, because they can reduce absorption of Tritec.

Tritec and Biaxin interact; both increase circulating levels of the other drug. This is probably a therapeutic advantage when they are being taken together and does not generally require a dosage adjustment.

Check with your pharmacist and physician before taking any other medication in combination with Tritec or with the combination of Biaxin and Tritec.

Special Precautions

Like many bacteria, H. pylori have developed resistance against some of the most commonly used antibiotics.

If an ulcer does not clear after Biaxin/Tritec therapy, the doctor is urged to try a different antibiotic regimen. Resistance to Tritec is uncommon.

Tritec is not recommended for people with severe kidney disease.

This medication should be avoided by people who have had porphyria.

People taking Tritec often report a harmless darkening of the tongue and the stool.

Do not confuse this with the black, tarry stool that indicates intestinal bleeding.

Taking the Medicine

Tritec and Biaxin may both be taken either with or without food.

Tritec is taken twice a day for four weeks; Biaxin is taken three times a day for the first two weeks.

Do not take Tritec when you have a hangover.

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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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