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A previous cohort study suggested that there might be an association between use of cimetidine and motor neurone disease. The Oxford Record Linkage Study was used to explore this hypothesis. In the analysis the presence of a peptic ulcer in patients after 1976 was taken as a proxy for cimetidine (and ranitidine) use. The past history of 540 patients with motor neurone disease in this period was compared with that of 1370 patients with multiple sclerosis (neurological controls) and over 240,000 control patients with a variety of other conditions. Among those with motor neurone disease, five had been previously admitted to hospital with peptic ulcer in comparison with an expected number of 7.4 (morbidity ratio 0.68, 95% confidence interval: 0.2 to 1.6). The corresponding figures for those with multiple sclerosis were 12 and 9.7 respectively (morbidity ratio 1.24, 95% confidence interval: 0.6 to 2.2). This study provides some evidence against the possibility that cimetidine (and ranitidine) are related to motor neurone disease.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1660 - 1661


Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford.


Humans, Peptic Ulcer, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neuron Disease, Cimetidine, Ranitidine, Medical Record Linkage, Confidence Intervals