OBJECIIVE: To identify risk factors for adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in patients receiving intravenous histamine2-receptor antagonists (H2-RAs). DESIGN: The study hypothesis was evaluated by performing a logistic regression procedure with a backward elimination of the explanatory variables associated with ADRs. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: ADRs temporally associated with the use of intravenous H2-RAs served as the dependent variable. Background information about the patients and drug use evaluation criteria in three general areas were entered into the regression analysis. SETIING: Hospitals were selected from the southeastern US, based on their willingness to participate and their characteristics. Participating hospitals exhibited a variety of sizes and ownership arrangements. PATIENTS: 1200 adult patients who were receiving intravenous H2-RAs. RESULTS: Seven percent of patients experienced a presumed ADR (PADR) to intravenous H2-RAs. The only risk factor for ranitidine was for patients who did not have their dosage corrected for renal function (“overdose”); these patients were twice as likely to experience a PADR compared with patients who received the correct dosage as determined by their renal function. Two risk factors for cimetidine were identified: (1) patients taking cimetidine with another medication known to cause a drug interaction; and (2) patient age. No risk factors were identified for famotidine. CONCLUSIONS: The two risk factors for ADRs identified in this study are preventable. Healthcare providers should strive to prevent ADRs by adjusting patients’ dosages based on their renal function and by monitoring patients receiving cimetidine with another medication known to interact with cimetidine. © 1993, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.