Cimetidine already is used extensively in the United States and abroad. This histamine H2-receptor antagonist was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 1977 for the treatment of duodenal ulcer disease, the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and other hypersecretory conditions. Despite the few approved indications, approximately 2 million patients in the United States had received the drug by October 1978. There are more approved indications in the United Kingdom, a circumstance that may help explain the remarkably heavy use in that country: Approximately 1% of the British population received the drug within 10 months of its release.
It is axiomatic that