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Cimetidine (Tagamet) for treatment of melanomas?

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  • Cimetidine (Tagamet) for treatment of melanomas?

    I am hoping someone out there has some experience with using Cimetidine (Tagamet) for treatment of melanomas? I read an article in a Horse Sport and it mentioned how studies showed that in 30-50 percent of cases Cimetidine, administered orally, is able to reduce the size and number of tumors.

    Does anyone have any experience with this? How much did you feed? What were the approx. costs?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by minor detail; Jun. 8, 2010, 04:24 AM. Reason: Clearly having some typing/spelling issues, opps

  • #2
    The dose is huge. 800-1600mg every 8 hours. You can get prescription Cimetidine in 800mg tabs though, so it's not too bad. I think a 100ct. bottle (2-4weeks) runs about $30.

    They generally have to stay on it for life or the melaomas start growing back again when you stop it.


    • #3
      I had a grey gelding have a six inch long melanoma removed from his rectum wall. 6 hour surgery with one of the most experienced/talented vets in California. His survival chances were low and they gave him six months to a year to live-he survived We started him on Cimetidine immediately after the surgery, 3x a day every day, and he is still alive and with us six years later and the melanoma has not grown back.
      Expecting 2017 foals by Vagabond de la Pomme, Cornet Obolensky, Zirocco Blue, Catoki and Christian.


      • Original Poster

        Interesting, thanks for sharing. Glad to hear your horse exceeded expectations and is still going strong RanchoAdobe!

        The horse in question has had two small (one dime size and one quarter size) melanomas develope. My main concern is that one is on the inside of his lip, thankfully at the moment its is not interfering with anything. I am trying to decide if it is in his best interest to start in on the Cimetidine to try and avoid any further growth.

        Was there any concern mentioned about administering Cimetidine when there were no ulcers present? Any negative side effects?

        As a side note I will, of course, be speaking with my vet regarding this. I just like to do a bit of my own research on top of that


        • #5
          I have also had some success with it, especially on my grey TB gelding (Springer) who passed away 4 yrs ago at 19 yrs. He had a tennis ball sized melanoma on his throat latch area which we kept at bay for years, I believe thanks to the cimetidine. And he did not die from that tumour incidentally. There were never any negative side effects; in fact I was told that any side effects from it would be good ones as it is an ulcer med- helps the tummy/ digestion etc.


          • #6
            I have a 29 year old boarder here who's on cimetidine twice a day for his melanoma. (Like Springer's horse, he also has a large lump at his throatlatch). I know he's been on the cimetide for years, no side effects etc.

            I own a gray pony and asked my vet about putting him on the cimetidine and her response was to wait until a melanoma was growing/causing a problem before starting the meds. Kind of like save it till you need it.

            No there's no concern about giving cimetidine with no ulcers present.
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            • #7
              The first initial study said Tagamet helped keep melanomas in grays at bay,
              Subsequent studies didn't confirm that and some were clearly indicating it didn't seem to do anything, at least from the results published of the last one a couple or three years ago.

              I know people that have tried for warts, but it didn't work for some, others think it does.

              I asked our vet about our 20 year old gray, that has some very little tumors on his sheat and inside of his cheeks and he said they were not bothering him any and nothing needed to be done, something else would kill him before those melanomas would.

              I think that maybe we don't know that much about this yet.


              • #8
                Originally posted by springer View Post
                There were never any negative side effects; in fact I was told that any side effects from it would be good ones as it is an ulcer med- helps the tummy/ digestion etc.
                Studies have shown it is only effective in supressing stomach acid at 40,000 to 50,000 mg. per day. (And no that was not a typo.)

                My horse was perscribed 40,000 mg per day for acid supression but she won't touch that much - even mixed in a big bucket of soaked beet pulp and grain. That is 25 of the 800 mg. pills crushed TWICE a day.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post
                  My horse was perscribed 40,000 mg per day for acid supression but she won't touch that much - even mixed in a big bucket of soaked beet pulp and grain. That is 25 of the 800 mg. pills crushed TWICE a day.
                  I wouldn't touch it either -- have you tasted it? BITTER! (I get some in my mouth sometimes when I'm grinding it up for the above boarder -- the powder floats in the air a bit when I open the coffee grinder). I have to syringe it in his mouth . . . and he needs to be in a stall or he's likely to run away when he sees me coming!

                  Though 25 pills -- that's probably two syringe's worth. THis horse gets 9 pills twice a day.
                  Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


                  • #10
                    I believe it! She'll normally eat anything if it's mixed in the beet pulp. The few times I tried mixing in the 25 crushed pills, I would find the bucket of beet pulp dumped upside down in the aisle and the bucket tossed 10 feet away.

                    And incidentally, Cimetidine must be ok for chickens because they never suffered harm from eating the tainted beet pulp! LOL


                    • #11
                      Vaccine and hyperthermia for melanomas

                      Actually there is a vaccine up and coming for equine melanoma. We have not seen much luck with cimetidine. There is a new treatment out for melanomas and different other cancers such as SCC and sarcoids (depending on where they are) with PHENOMENAL results!! Email Dr. Jeffrey Phillips (he is a boarded veterinary oncologist with extensive work now in horses) at jphill35@utk.edu. He is speaking about it at ACVIM this week, so will be busy, but will get back to you by the weekend. Best of luck!!!!!
                      And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. Revelation 19:11


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by minor detail View Post
                        The horse in question has had two small (one dime size and one quarter size) melanomas develope. My main concern is that one is on the inside of his lip, thankfully at the moment its is not interfering with anything. I am trying to decide if it is in his best interest to start in on the Cimetidine to try and avoid any further growth.
                        Doesn't work that way. The few controlled studies done found cimetidine to be somewhat effective only on rapidly growing tumors. Had zero effect on the smaller, static type.

                        Was there any concern mentioned about administering Cimetidine when there were no ulcers present? Any negative side effects?
                        The biggest drawback to cimetidine is it interacts with a LOT of other drugs and is why it is rarely prescibed for people anymore. It can also effect natural estrogen levels and has caused breast enlargement/development in men among other things.


                        • #13
                          It did nothing for my grey mare, who has melanoma in her lips and dock area, and a new one growing off the side of her head right where the brow band wants to go, but to the side not the center.

                          OTOH, a friend of mine had wonderful luck with a melanoma on her grey gelding's sheath that was interfering with urination and looking to be quite a problem.

                          So, 50-50 here.


                          • #14
                            As rcloisonne said, Cimetidine seems to only be beneficial to growing/metastisizing tumors.

                            I had my old guy on it for a while, but after about a year, the tumors stopped responding (i.e. began growing again). I had him euthanized at 14 for internal melanomas in his bowels and intestines. He also had them on his lips, on a salivary gland, under his ears (went deaf), under his tail, and in his sheath. Very, very rare case of where it DID directly lead to his death.

                            Good luck and best wishes that your gray is unfetterd by them for many, many years to come.


                            • #15
                              I have had success on sarcoid

                              My mare has a flat sarcoid in the middle of her chest that was about the size of a quarter. When she shed her winter coat this year I was sad to see that it had grown to the size of a silver dollar.

                              Had the vet come out and he suggested trying something non-invasive and had seen a few people have success with Cimetidine. His findings were based on horses that were on Cimetidine for ulcers but the owners noticed a reduction in sarcoids.

                              So far mine has been on 4000mg twice daily for 3 weeks and the sarcoid has shrunk about 1/4 inch and the little nodes that were present are flaking off.

                              I plan on keeping her on it for a few months and then gradually tapering back the dose.


                              • #16
                                I was told by our vets that they only prescribe Cimetidine if there are changes and/or growth to the melanomas. They seem to only really do anything if the melanomas are active.

                                Our Rocky was on 2400 MG of Cimetidine daily, or 3 of the 800 mg pills. Several of the horses at our barn are on Cimetidine right now but that particular vet has them on 400mg twice a day - which obviously doesn't do anything. I think it's more of a "feel good" dose for the owners.

                                Rocky was extremely reactive to the Cimetidine. Our vet theorized that it was cutting the blood supply off to the tumors, as they would ulcerate and die off. We saw MASSIVE decreases in tumor size ... and a lot of time spent cleaning the areas and monitoring him. However he also had a LOT of melanomas and they were very large. The first ones to go were the grapefruit sized growth hanging off his tail, which ended up continuing into tumor that wrapped around his tailbone and invaded all the way to the bone, and continued to a golf-ball size protusion on the other side. Once the golf-ball sized tumor was gone, the grapefruit shrunk to the size of a small orange, and the wrap around bit coming away we realized that the invasion was so large and the bones so brittle in the tail from the melanomas being there so long we decided to dock the tail. Removed the problem, removed teh drainage, etc.

                                He also had a lot of internal melanomas. After we removed the tail we seemed to stabilize for a while. No new ulcerations, no new growths. Then he received a ringbone diagnosis and at nearly 24 (December of his 23rd year) I decided to retire him and stop aggressively treating his melanomas and just let him live out his remaining life in peace. Bad choice. Stopping the Cimetidine caused the tumors to start growing again ... rapidly ... and within 3 weeks the internal ones were pressing on his large intestine and causing colics. We started him back up on the Cimetidine and got them to stop growing, start shrinking and ulcerating again ... was a very hard experience.

                                He developed an anaerobic infection that ate a tract through his flank muscle ... and even though we got through that, he ultimately had an internal melanoma (about 6" long) break free and travel through that tract and exit his body. That day was the day we lost him. The bleeding wasn't stopping, there was a very good chance he had nicked the femoral artery and even if we hadn't, we now knew that tumors were migrating in his body. Another tumor going down that tract could have severed the sciatic nerve, or the femoral artery ... basically our vet painted a very ugly picture of the possibilities while telling us to take him home, start him on long term antibiotic treatment as the tract/wound would never heal, and call him if the bleeding didn't stop within a few hours. We decided to let him go that day with his dignity intact instead.

                                So ... I can say without a doubt that I know Cimetidine CAN work. And it is affordable - I think it was around $25-30 per month for his meds. If I could go back in time I would never have stopped the Cimetidine and we'd probably still have Rocky (we lost him March 15, 2009). But it is what it is ... and I'm ok with our decision.
                                If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                                ~ Maya Angelou