The H2-histamine receptor antagonists, cimetidine and ranitidine, were compared for their abilities to control acid secretion on a short- and long-term basis in 13 patients with gastric hypersecretory disorders. The rate of onset of action did not differ between the two drugs. The actions of both drugs were increased by an anticholinergic agent, and there was a close correlation between the daily maintenance dose of each drug needed to control acid secretion. However, ranitidine was threefold more potent than cimetidine and no male patient developed breast changes or impotence while taking ranitidine. Treatment with high doses of ranitidine for 6 to 25 months was not associated with hepatic or hematologic toxicity or alterations of serum gastrin levels, but was associated with a significantly lower serum creatinine level than that seen with cimetidine therapy. These studies show that ranitidine can adequately inhibit acid secretion in patients with gastric hypersecretory disorders, is safe at high doses, does not cause the antiandrogen side effects frequently seen with high doses of cimetidine, and is threefold more potent than cimetidine. Patients who are relatively resistant to cimetidine will have proportional resistance to ranitidine.