How Effective Is Ranitidine for Hives?

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  • Written By: Jamie Nedderman
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 21 January 2020
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Hives are common, but people who frequently suffer from them will desire relief from symptoms. Various allergens cause hives, but sometimes the single cause is never found. Treatment of the symptoms then becomes necessary, and using ranitidine for hives is an available option that offers an antihistamine to block the body’s natural reaction to the unknown allergen. Ranitidine is less likely to cause drowsiness than over-the-counter options, but does react with other medications. A doctor should always evaluate a patient’s individual circumstances prior to the patient taking ranitidine.

Most people will have hives at least once in their lifetime. Hives vary in size and can appear anywhere on the body, but typically go away after a few hours with no long-term problems. People that suffer from chronic hives, however, suffer every day or almost every day, for six weeks or longer. In the majority of cases, there is no identifiable cause, and, therefore, nothing that is underlying to be treated. Various available medications, or combinations of multiple medications, are a remedy used to find the treatment that works best for the individual.

Ranitidine for hives is one available method. It is primarily prescribed for digestive issues, but another use is as an antihistamine. The body naturally releases histamines to fight invading allergens, and the skin responds by forming hives. By using an antihistamine like ranitidine, the skin theoretically will not have that reaction.


Some over-the-counter antihistamines are available, but are known to cause drowsiness. Obtaining a prescription for an antihistamine like ranitidine is often a better option, because drowsiness is not a common side effect with this drug. Various types of medical insurance are also more likely to cover something prescribed by a doctor than something purchased over the counter.

If a patient takes other medications, drug interactions must be considered, along with other side effects. Ranitidine reduces the absorption of stomach acid, so it might cause problems with absorption of drugs that require stomach acid to work properly. Relatively minor side effects may include constipation, diarrhea, and muscle pain, as well as nausea and fatigue. Rare side effects for which an individual should seek medical attention include anemia, hair loss, and irregular heartbeat, as well as mood alterations or yellowing of the skin and eyes. As with any medication, the risks of taking ranitidine for hives should be balanced with the benefits with the help of a medical professional.


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Post 3

@alisha-- Ranitidine is most effective against hives when it's taken along with an H-1 receptor antihistamine like cetirizine. Ranitidine inhibits H-2 receptors but if H-1 receptors are also active, the hives may not go away. Taking them together is the best treatment. I have chronic hives and this is the only drug combination that works for me. It took me several months and many visits to multiple doctors to find this combination.

Post 2

@burcidi-- That's great if ranitidine alone treats your hives. It doesn't work for me.

I would still be careful though, because it can still affect your blood pressure, it may lower it or change your pulse because there are histamine receptors in the heart.

Post 1

I can't take the OTC antihistamines for allergies because I have high blood pressure. Allergy medications give me arrhythmia and increase my blood pressure.

But I'm also very sensitive and many allergens cause me to break out in hives. I was stung by an insect the other day and broke out in hives. I went to the pharmacy and spoke to the pharmacist there. She gave me a topical cream and also told me to try ranitidine. I thought she was joking because I had no idea that a medication for acid reflux could work against hives.

I took the ranitidine and the hives disappeared in twenty minutes. It also didn't affect my blood pressure.

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