Skip to Content

Cimetidine Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings

Cimetidine is also known as: Acid Reducer-Cimetidine, Equaline Acid Reducer, Leader Heartburn Relief, Tagamet, Tagamet HB

Medically reviewed on March 7, 2018

Cimetidine Pregnancy Warnings

Cimetidine has been assigned to pregnancy category B by the FDA. Animal studies have failed to reveal evidence of fetal harm. There are no controlled data in human pregnancy. Cimetidine crosses the placenta, bidirectionally, by slow, passive diffusion. However, cimetidine has been used safely during pregnancy to treat severe peptic ulcer disease as well as near term for the prevention of Mendelson's syndrome. Cimetidine is only recommended for use during pregnancy when benefit outweighs risk.

Placental transfer of cimetidine is slow. In one study, the fetal/maternal ratio averaged 0.46 two hours after intravenous administration of cimetidine to the maternal placental circuit. Administration to both the fetal and maternal circuits resulted in equilibrium, with the fetal/maternal ratio averaging 1.01, for the duration of the two hour experiment. These data suggest that chronic dosing would result in increased exposure to the fetus compared to exposure following a single dose during labor.

There are no adequate data on the safety of cimetidine during the first trimester.

Cimetidine has been used safely and successfully during labor to prevent Mendelson's syndrome. The use of cimetidine in this setting does not affect the duration of labor or the pattern or intensity of contractions. Adverse fetal and neonatal effects have not been found in several studies documenting the use of cimetidine during labor and delivery.

See references

Cimetidine Breastfeeding Warnings

Following oral administration of cimetidine 400 mg in one patient, the peak milk concentration was 5 mcg/mL. The milk to plasma ratio ranged from 3.04 to 3.57. Following a chronic dosing regimen in the same patient, cimetidine milk concentrations remained relatively constant, with milk to plasma ratios greater, although variable, than those noted in the single dose study. The authors suggest an active transport mechanism is involved.

Cimetidine is excreted into human milk. While the manufacturer recommends avoiding use during lactation, cimetidine is considered compatible with breast-feeding by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

See references

References for pregnancy information

  1. McCaughey W, Howe JP, Moore J, Dundee JW "Cimetidine in elective caesarean section." Anaesthesia 36 (1981): 167-72
  2. Thorburn J, Moir DD "Antacid therapy for emergency caesarean section." Anaesthesia 42 (1987): 352-5
  3. Ostheimer GW, Morrison JA, Lavoie C, Sepkoski C, Hoffman J, Datta S "The effect of cimetidine on mother, newborn and neonatal neurobehavior." Anesthesiology 57 (1982): a405
  4. "Product Information. Tagamet (cimetidine)." SmithKline Beecham, Philadelphia, PA.
  5. McAuley DM, Halliday HL, Johnston JR, Moore J, Dundee JW "Cimetidine in labour: absence of adverse effect on the high-risk fetus." Br J Obstet Gynaecol 92 (1985): 350-5
  6. Ching MS, Mihaly GW, Morgan DJ, Date NM, Hardy KJ, Smallwood RA "Low clearance of cimetidine across the human placenta." J Pharmacol Exp Ther 241 (1987): 1006-9
  7. McGowan WAW "Safety of cimetidine in obstetric patients." J R Soc Med 72 (1979): 902-7
  8. Schenker S, Dicke J, Johnson RF, Mor LL, Henderson GI "Human placental transport of cimetidine." J Clin Invest 80 (1987): 1428-34
  9. Hodgkinson R, Glassenberg R, Joyce TH, Coombs DW, Ostheimer GW, Gibbs CP "Comparison of cimetidine (Tagamet) with antacid for safety and effectiveness in reducing gastric acidity before elective cesarean section." Anesthesiology 59 (1983): 86-90

References for breastfeeding information

  1. Somogyi A, Gugler R "Cimetidine excretion into breast milk." Br J Clin Pharmacol 7 (1979): 627-9
  2. "Product Information. Tagamet (cimetidine)." SmithKline Beecham, Philadelphia, PA.
  3. Roberts RJ, Blumer JL, Gorman RL, et al "American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs: Transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human milk." Pediatrics 84 (1989): 924-36
  4. Committee on Drugs, 1992 to 1993 "The transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human milk." Pediatrics 93 (1994): 137-50

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.