Zantac 360 Vs. Zantac: What Is The Difference?
In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the difference between Zantac and Zantac 360.
I just went to the pharmacy to pick up some Zantac but couldn't find any. I could only find Zantac 360. What is that?
- The main difference between Zantac and Zantac 360 is the active ingredient. Zantac contains ranitidine while Zantac 360 contains famotidine.
- Ranitidine and famotidine are in the same drug class (H2-blockers), work the same way, and have similar effectiveness.
- Zantac products that contained ranitidine have, at least temporarily, been removed from the market due to potentially high levels of NDMA.
Put very simply, Zantac and Zantac 360 contain different active ingredients. Zantac contains ranitidine while Zantac 360 contains famotidine.
Both of these active ingredients (ranitidine and famotidine) are in the same class of drugs, known as H2-blockers (or more specifically, histamine type-2 receptor antagonists) and work the same way. There is very little difference between them in terms of how well they work.
The popular commercial product Pepcid contains famotidine as well.
Why Did Zantac Change Ingredients?
As you may or may not be aware, Zantac (ranitidine) has seen it's fair share of controversy recently due to the fact that the product has been found to contain appreciable amounts of NDMA (nitrosodimethylamine), a probable human carcinogen.
In fact, in April 2020, the FDA recommended the removal of all products containing ranitidine from the market. The following is from the FDA press release on the matter:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced it is requesting manufacturers withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine drugs from the market immediately. This is the latest step in an ongoing investigation of a contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in ranitidine medications (commonly known by the brand name Zantac).
Products that contained different H2-blockers, like Pepcid (which contains famotidine) were not affected.
In should be noted that Zantac was not the only pharmaceutical that was found to contain unacceptable levels of NDMA. For example, metformin, a prescription drug for diabetes, was found in many cases to have high levels of NDMA.
Due to the fact that ranitidine has been, for the moment at least, removed from the market, Zantac rebranded itself as Zantac 360 (and changed the active ingredient to famotidine).
Below are some product pictures for your reference that show the active ingredient of Zantac being ranitidine and Zantac 360 being famotidine.
Ranitidine Vs. Famotidine
So, we've established that the difference between Zantac and Zantac 360 is that the former contains ranitidine and the latter contains famotidine.
As mentioned, ranitidine and famotidine are in the same class of drugs and work the same way. They block histamine from binding to H2 receptors on acid producing cells in the stomach (i.e. parietal cells), which in turn reduces acid secretion.
Ranitidine and famotidine are both very similar in terms of their effectiveness, and you can expect them to work equally well in treating your acid reflux and related conditions.
Both drugs work within 1 to 2 hours after taking a dose and each lasts around 12 hours.
Studies comparing the two, in terms of their ability to suppress acid and treat acid related disorders (e.g. ulcers), find them very similar overall.
One study stated:
Famotidine 40 mg given once at night appears to be as safe and effective as conventional therapy with ranitidine, indicating the importance of overnight gastric acidity in the pathogenesis of duodenal ulcer disease.
Another showed similar results:
The data from this study therefore, supports the conclusion that the efficacy of 20 mg famotidine nocte is comparable to that of ranitidine in preventing duodenal ulcer recurrence, with comparable tolerability for long-term therapy.
Although there certainly is a chance you could respond better to one H2-blocker or the other, most people will be able to substitute one for the other with similar effects.
Since Zantac 360 contains famotidine, a question that may come up is whether or not there is any difference between it and Pepcid.
As mentioned Pepcid contains famotidine as well, so aside from some inactive ingredients in the two meds, they are the same. It should be noted however that Pepcid has several products on the market, including Pepcid Complete, which contains famotidine along with quicker acting antacids (calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide).
Thank you for your question and I hope you found this answer helpful!
- Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD
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