Objective: To determine whether the four histamine-2 receptor antagonists currently available for the treatment of acid-peptic disorders in the United States alter serum ethanol levels after moderate alcohol consumption.
Design: Prospective, randomized crossover design comparing the effects of histamine-2 receptor antagonists and no treatment on serum ethanol levels. Each participant served as his own control.
Participants: Twenty-five healthy nonalcoholic men (21 to 35 years old); two participants were withdrawn before starting the study.
Setting: University medical center.
Intervention: Cimetidine (400 mg twice daily), famotidine (20 mg twice daily), nizatidine (150 mg twice daily), ranitidine (150 mg twice daily), and no treatment for 7 days. After the last dose of medication, participants ate a standard meal; 1 hour later they drank ethanol (0.3 g/kg body weight in 500 mL of orange juice) over 8 minutes.
Measurements: Simultaneous measurements of breath and serum (headspace gas chromatography) ethanol were made before and 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 minutes after ingestion of ethanol.
Results: Peak ethanol levels did not differ (mmol/L; mean ± SE) after cimetidine (3.0 ± 0.3), famotidine (2.9 ± 0.3), nizatidine (2.9 ± 0.3), ranitidine (3.1 ± 0.4), and no treatment (2.9 ± 0.4). Similarly, there was no difference in the area under the curve (mmol/L x h; mean ± SE) after cimetidine (4.3 ± 0.5), famotidine (3.8 ± 0.4), nizatidine (4.2 ± 0.5), ranitidine (3.9 ± 0.4), and no treatment (4.0 ± 0.5).
Conclusions: In healthy nonalcoholic men, the histamine-2 receptor antagonists currently available in the United States do not alter serum ethanol levels following moderate alcohol consumption after an evening meal.