Does Medicare Cover Ranitidine?

In this article...
  • Ranitidine is a type of H2 blocker used to reduce excess stomach acid to treat reflux and associated complications. Discover whether Medicare covers ranitidine.

Excess stomach acid can cause several unpleasant symptoms and potential complications, including peptic ulcers and esophagus damage. Fortunately, taking over-the-counter or prescription-strength H2 blockers helps many people control their symptoms and reduce the risk of conditions associated with too much stomach acid. 

You might have noticed the disappearance of ranitidine from your pharmacy's shelves, along with branded versions such as Tritec, Zantac and Zantac 75. Therefore, you may be wondering whether you can still get these medications by prescription and whether Medicare covers ranitidine.

What Is Ranitidine?

Until recently, ranitidine was commonly prescribed to treat acid reflux and gastroesophaegal reflux disease. This medication is an H2 blocker that reduces excessive stomach acid levels to minimize the risk of peptic ulcers, indigestion and esophagus damage. The drug was widely available in generic forms and under the brand names Zantac and Tritec, by prescription and over the counter. 

In April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration recalled all ranitidine medications from the U.S. market because evidence showed that many of these drugs contained NDMA at potentially harmful levels. NDMA occurs naturally in water and food, but consuming too much could be carcinogenic. Therefore, the FDA recommends using alternative H2 blocker medications, such as famotidine, lansoprazole or cimetidine.

Does Medicare Cover Ranitidine?

Medicare doesn't cover ranitidine because it's no longer available in the United States. However, you may have coverage for an alternative H2 blocker if you have Medicare Part D (supplemental prescription drug coverage) or a Medicare Advantage policy with prescription drug benefits. 

For example, 100% of Medicare plans with drug coverage cover famotidine. You can find out which H2 blocker medications your plan covers by consulting your insurer's formulary (list of covered medications.)

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