Merck Manual

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Drugs Used to Treat Peptic Ulcer Disease

Drugs Used to Treat Peptic Ulcer Disease

Drug Type

Some Side Effects



  • Aluminum hydroxide

  • Calcium carbonate

  • Magnesium hydroxide

  • Sodium bicarbonate

Aluminum hydroxide: Nausea, headache, weakness, loss of appetite, and constipation

Magnesium hydroxide: Diarrhea

These drugs are used mainly to relieve symptoms, not as a cure.

Histamine-2 blockers

  • Cimetidine

  • Famotidine

  • Nizatidine

  • Ranitidine

Rash, fever, diarrhea, muscle pains, and confusion

Cimetidine: May cause breast enlargement and erectile dysfunction in men and may interfere with elimination of certain drugs

The once-daily dose is taken in the evening or at bedtime. Doses taken in the morning are less effective.

Proton pump inhibitors

  • Esomeprazole


  • Omeprazole

  • Pantoprazole

  • Rabeprazole

Diarrhea, constipation, and headache

These drugs are usually well tolerated and are most effective means of reducing stomach acid.


  • Amoxicillin

  • Clarithromycin

  • Metronidazole

  • Tetracycline

Altered taste and nausea

Amoxicillin, clarithromycin, or tetracycline: Diarrhea

These drugs are effective for treating peptic ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection.


  • Bismuth subsalicylate

  • Misoprostol

  • Sucralfate


Bismuth subsalicylate: Darkening of the tongue and stool, constipation

Misoprostol: Abdominal cramping, spontaneous abortion

Sucralfate: May reduce absorption of other drugs, constipation

Bismuth subsalicylate is used in combination with antibiotics to cure H. pylori infection.