Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

US Brand Name

  1. Heartburn Relief
  2. Pepcid
  3. Pepcid AC

Descriptions


Famotidine is used to treat stomach ulcers (gastric and duodenal), erosive esophagitis (heartburn or acid indigestion), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a condition where the acid in the stomach washes back up into the esophagus. It is also used to treat certain conditions where there is too much acid in the stomach (e.g., Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, endocrine tumors).

Famotidine belongs to the group of medicines known as histamine H2-receptor antagonists or H2-blockers. It works by decreasing the amount of acid produced by the stomach.

This medicine is available with your doctor's prescription and also without a prescription. For the prescription form, there is more medicine in each tablet. Your doctor will have special instructions on the proper use and dose for your medical problem.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet
  • Powder for Suspension
  • Tablet, Chewable
  • Tablet, Disintegrating

Before Using

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of famotidine in children.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of famotidine in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney problems, which may require an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving famotidine.

Pregnancy

Information about this famotidine-oral-route
Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters B Animal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

Breastfeeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Amifampridine
  • Piperaquine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Atazanavir
  • Clozapine
  • Crizotinib
  • Dabrafenib
  • Dasatinib
  • Delavirdine
  • Escitalopram
  • Fluoxetine
  • Ivabradine
  • Ketoconazole
  • Ondansetron
  • Pazopanib
  • Ponatinib
  • Quetiapine
  • Rilpivirine
  • Sevoflurane
  • Tizanidine
  • Tolazoline
  • Vandetanib
  • Vemurafenib
  • Vinflunine
  • Vismodegib

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Cefditoren Pivoxil
  • Cefpodoxime Proxetil
  • Cyclosporine

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Kidney disease, moderate or severe—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Proper Use

Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor or as directed on the package. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

Keep using this medicine for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better.

Measure the oral liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms (suspension, tablets):
    • To treat stomach ulcers:
      • Adults—20 milligrams (mg) one or two times per day or 40 mg once a day at bedtime.
      • Teenagers and children above 1 year of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The starting dose is usually 0.5 milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day, given as a single dose at bedtime or divided in two doses. The total dose is usually not more than 40 mg per day.
    • To treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD):
      • Adults—20 milligrams (mg) two times per day.
      • Teenagers and children above 1 year of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The starting dose is usually 1 milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day, divided and given two times per day. The total dose is usually not more than 40 mg two times per day.
      • Infants 3 months to 1 year of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 1 milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day, divided and given two times per day.
      • Infants younger than 3 months of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 0.5 milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day, given as a single dose once a day.
    • To treat erosive esophagitis (heartburn):
      • Adults—10, 20, or 40 milligrams (mg) two times per day.
      • Teenagers and children above 1 year of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The starting dose is usually 1 milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day, divided and given two times per day. The total dose is usually not more than 40 mg two times per day.
    • To treat too much stomach acid (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome):
      • Adults—20 milligrams (mg) every 6 hours. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Throw away any unused oral liquid after 30 days.

Precautions

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

If your condition does not improve, or if it become worse, check with your doctor.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Rare

  1. Bleeding gums
  2. blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  3. blood in the urine or stools
  4. bloody, black, or tarry stools
  5. chest pain
  6. chills
  7. cough or hoarseness
  8. diarrhea
  9. fever
  10. fever with or without chills
  11. general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  12. high fever
  13. itching
  14. joint or muscle pain
  15. lower back or side pain
  16. painful or difficult urination
  17. pale skin
  18. pinpoint red spots on the skin
  19. red, irritated eyes
  20. red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  21. shortness of breath
  22. sore throat
  23. sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  24. swollen glands
  25. unusual bleeding or bruising
  26. unusual tiredness or weakness

Incidence not known

  1. Abdominal or stomach pain
  2. anxiety
  3. burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  4. clay-colored stools
  5. dark urine
  6. depression
  7. difficulty with breathing
  8. difficulty with swallowing
  9. dizziness
  10. dry mouth
  11. fainting
  12. false sense of well-being
  13. fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
  14. headache
  15. hives
  16. hyperventilation
  17. irritability
  18. large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  19. loss of appetite
  20. loss of bladder control
  21. loss of consciousness
  22. mood swings
  23. nausea
  24. nervousness
  25. noisy breathing
  26. personality changes
  27. puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  28. rash
  29. restlessness
  30. seizures
  31. shaking
  32. skin rash
  33. swelling around the eyes
  34. tightness in the chest
  35. total body jerking
  36. trouble with sleeping
  37. troubled with breathing
  38. unpleasant breath odor
  39. vision changes
  40. vomiting of blood
  41. wheezing
  42. yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common

  1. Difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)

Rare

  1. Swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males

Incidence not known

  1. Abdominal or stomach discomfort
  2. blemishes on the skin
  3. change in taste or bad, unusual or unpleasant (after) taste
  4. continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  5. decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  6. difficulty with moving
  7. dry skin
  8. fear
  9. hair loss or thinning of the hair
  10. hearing loss
  11. hives or welts
  12. inability to have or keep an erection
  13. loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  14. mood or mental changes
  15. muscle cramps
  16. muscle stiffness
  17. pimples
  18. redness of the skin
  19. redness of the white part of the eyes
  20. seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  21. sleeplessness
  22. unable to sleep
  23. weight loss

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.