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Lafutidine is a medication used to control the amount of stomach acid a patient produces. It was developed by Japanese doctors in the 2000s and, as of 2011, is available only in Japan. The medication works by preventing histamine from acting on certain cells in the stomach.
A histamine H2 antagonist, lafutidine works by interfering with the histamine molecule’s ability to bind to parietal cells in the wall of the stomach. These cells release acid into the stomach when they bind with histamine. Preventing this binding decreases the overall amount of acid produced in a patient’s stomach. Treatment with lafutidine effectively cures certain stomach disorders at the source instead of just masking the symptoms. The production of stomach acid increases again once the patient stops taking this medication.
Disorders such as dyspepsia and acid reflux can be effectively treated with lafutidine. These diseases occur when excess stomach acid causes irritation in the lining of the digestive tract. Over time, the excess acid can also lead to more serious conditions, such as cancer, which can be prevented through the use of lafutidine.
In addition to treating these common disorders, lafutidine can also be used to help keep a patient’s stomach calm during surgery. When the medication is taken the night before and then again a few hours before surgery, it decreases the chance that the patient will vomit while unconscious. Instances of aspiration pneumonia, which can occur when a patient vomits during surgery, are reduced.
There are a number of people who should not take lafutidine. Patients with disorders of the kidneys or liver can experience complications when taking this medication. Women who are breastfeeding should not take the drug because the it can be passed on to an infant through the breast milk, which may be dangerous for the baby. Additionally, this medication may cause health problems in patients who are elderly.
Patients may experience a number of common side effects when taking lafutidine, though many patients don’t experience any. Problems of the digestive system, such as constipation and anorexia are not uncommon. Severe side effects, such as hallucinations have also been reported, as have allergic reactions. Signs of allergic reaction include hives and difficulty breathing and should be reported to a doctor.