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famotidine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: famotidine (fam OH ti deen)
Brand Name: Heartburn Relief, Pepcid, Pepcid AC, Pepcid AC Maximum Strength, Pepcid RPD, Mylanta AR, Leader Acid Reducer

What is famotidine?

Famotidine a histamine-2 blockers. Famotidine works by decreasing the amount of acid the stomach produces.

Famotidine is used to treat and prevent ulcers in the stomach and intestines. It also treats conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Famotidine also treats gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other conditions in which acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

Famotidine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about famotidine?

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking famotidine?

Heartburn is often confused with the first symptoms of a heart attack. Seek emergency medical attention if you have chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating, and a general ill feeling.

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to famotidine or similar medicines such as ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), or nizatidine (Axid).

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use famotidine if you have other medical conditions, especially:

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease;

  • cancer stomach; or

  • a personal or family history of Long QT syndrome.

FDA pregnancy category B. Famotidine is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor's advice if you are pregnant.

Famotidine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How should I take famotidine?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Although most ulcers heal within 4 weeks of famotidine treatment, it may take up to 8 weeks of using this medicine before your ulcer heals. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 6 weeks of treatment.

Famotidine may be only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes changes in diet or lifestyle habits. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Do not allow the liquid medicine to freeze.

Throw away any unused famotidine liquid that is older than 30 days.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking famotidine?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase the risk of damage to your stomach.

Avoid taking cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), or nizatidine (Axid) while you are taking famotidine, unless your doctor has told you to.

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Famotidine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using famotidine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fast or pounding heartbeats with severe dizziness; or

  • unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.

Common side effects may include:

  • headache;

  • dizziness; or

  • constipation or diarrhea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Famotidine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Duodenal Ulcer:

Oral:
-Usual dose: 40 mg orally once a day at bedtime OR 20 mg orally 2 times a day
-Maintenance dose: 20 mg orally once a day at bedtime
-Duration of therapy: 4 weeks
Parenteral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg IV every 12 hours

Comments:
-Most patients who received oral formulations healed within 4 weeks, with few patients requiring treatment for 6 to 8 weeks; there are no safety data for the treatment of uncomplicated active duodenal ulcer beyond 8 weeks. Studies have not been conducted in patients receiving oral maintenance therapy for longer than 1 year.
-Parenteral treatment should be limited to patients who cannot tolerate oral formulations.

Uses:
-Short-term treatment of active duodenal ulcer
-Maintenance therapy for duodenal ulcer patients at reduced dosage after healing of an active ulcer
-Hospitalized patients with intractable ulcers, or as an alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in patients who are unable to take oral medication for active duodenal ulcers
-Alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in specific hospitalized patients who are unable to take oral medication for duodenal ulcer maintenance therapy

Usual Adult Dose for Peptic Ulcer:

Oral:
-Usual dose: 40 mg orally once a day at bedtime OR 20 mg orally 2 times a day
-Maintenance dose: 20 mg orally once a day at bedtime
-Duration of therapy: 4 weeks
Parenteral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg IV every 12 hours

Comments:
-Most patients who received oral formulations healed within 4 weeks, with few patients requiring treatment for 6 to 8 weeks; there are no safety data for the treatment of uncomplicated active duodenal ulcer beyond 8 weeks. Studies have not been conducted in patients receiving oral maintenance therapy for longer than 1 year.
-Parenteral treatment should be limited to patients who cannot tolerate oral formulations.

Uses:
-Short-term treatment of active duodenal ulcer
-Maintenance therapy for duodenal ulcer patients at reduced dosage after healing of an active ulcer
-Hospitalized patients with intractable ulcers, or as an alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in patients who are unable to take oral medication for active duodenal ulcers
-Alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in specific hospitalized patients who are unable to take oral medication for duodenal ulcer maintenance therapy

Usual Adult Dose for Gastric Ulcer:

Oral:
-Usual dose: 40 mg orally once a day at bedtime
-Duration of therapy: 6 weeks

Parenteral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg IV every 12 hours

Comments:
-Most patients who received oral formulations healed within 6 weeks; there are no safety data for the treatment of uncomplicated active benign gastric ulcer beyond 8 weeks.
-Parenteral treatment should be limited to patients who cannot tolerate oral formulations.

Uses:
-Short-term treatment of active benign gastric ulcer
-Hospitalized patients with intractable ulcers, or as an alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in patients who are unable to take oral medication for active benign gastric ulcers

Usual Adult Dose for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease:

Oral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg orally 2 times day
-Duration of therapy: Up to 6 weeks

Parenteral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg IV every 12 hours

Comment:
-Parenteral treatment should be limited to patients who cannot tolerate oral formulations.

Uses:
-Short-term treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
-Alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in specific hospitalized patients who are unable to take oral medication for GERD

Usual Adult Dose for Erosive Esophagitis:

Oral:
-Usual dose: 20 to 40 mg orally 2 times a day
-Duration of therapy: Up to 12 weeks

Parenteral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg IV every 12 hours

Comment:
-Parenteral treatment should be limited to patients who cannot tolerate oral formulations.

Uses:
-Short-term treatment of esophagitis due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), including erosive/ulcerative disease diagnosed by endoscopy
-Alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in specific hospitalized patients who are unable to take oral medication for esophagitis due to GERD

Usual Adult Dose for Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome:

Oral:
-Initial dose: 20 mg orally every 6 hours
-Maximum dose: 160 mg orally every 6 hours

Parenteral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg IV every 6 to 12 hours

Comments:
-Parenteral treatment should be limited to patients who cannot tolerate oral formulations.
-Dosing should be determined on an individual basis.
-Treatment should be continued for as long as clinically necessary.

Uses:
-Treatment of pathological hypersecretory conditions, including Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and multiple endocrine adenomas
-Some hospitalized patients with pathological hypersecretory conditions

Usual Adult Dose for Pathological Hypersecretory Conditions:

Oral:
-Initial dose: 20 mg orally every 6 hours
-Maximum dose: 160 mg orally every 6 hours

Parenteral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg IV every 6 to 12 hours

Comments:
-Parenteral treatment should be limited to patients who cannot tolerate oral formulations.
-Dosing should be determined on an individual basis.
-Treatment should be continued for as long as clinically necessary.

Uses:
-Treatment of pathological hypersecretory conditions, including Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and multiple endocrine adenomas
-Some hospitalized patients with pathological hypersecretory conditions

Usual Adult Dose for Dyspepsia:

Oral:
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Formulations:
-Treatment dose: 10 to 20 mg orally once
-Symptom prevention: 10 to 20 mg orally once 10 to 60 minutes prior to consuming food/beverages that cause heartburn
-Maximum dose: 2 tablets/day
-Maximum duration of therapy: 14 days

Comments:
-OTC tablet formulations should be taken with a glass of water.
-Chewable tablet formulations should be chewed completely before swallowing.

Uses:
-Relief of heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach
-Prevention of heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach brought on by eating/drinking certain foods and beverages

Usual Pediatric Dose for Peptic Ulcer:

1 TO 16 YEARS:
Oral:
-Usual dose: 0.5 mg/kg orally once a day at bedtime OR 0.25 mg/kg orally 2 times a day
-Maximum dose: 40 mg/day

Parenteral:
-Initial dose: 0.25 mg/kg IV injected over at least 2 minutes OR infused over 15 minutes every 12 hours
-Maximum dose: 40 mg/day

16 YEARS AND OLDER:
Oral:
-Usual dose: 40 mg orally once a day at bedtime OR 20 mg orally 2 times a day
-Maintenance dose: 20 mg orally once a day at bedtime
-Duration of therapy: 4 weeks

Parenteral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg IV every 12 hours

Comments:
-Uncontrolled clinical trials have used oral doses up to 1 mg/kg in patients 1 to 16 years of age.
-Gastric acid suppression occurred at IV doses of 0.5 mg/kg every 12 hours.

Uses:
-Short-term treatment of active duodenal ulcer
-Maintenance therapy for duodenal ulcer patients at reduced dosage after healing of an active ulcer
-Hospitalized patients with intractable ulcers, or as an alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in patients who are unable to take oral medication for active duodenal ulcers
-Alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in specific hospitalized patients who are unable to take oral medication for duodenal ulcer maintenance therapy

Usual Pediatric Dose for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease:

LESS THAN 3 MONTHS:
Oral:
-Initial dose: 0.5 mg/kg orally once a day
-Duration of therapy: Up to 8 weeks

3 MONTHS TO LESS THAN 1 YEAR:
Oral:
-Initial dose: 0.5 mg/kg orally 2 times a day
-Duration of therapy: Up to 8 weeks

1 YEAR TO 16 YEARS:
Oral:
-Usual dose: 0.5 mg/kg/day orally 2 times a day
-Maximum dose: Up to 40 mg/dose

Parenteral:
-Initial dose: 0.25 mg/kg IV injected over at least 2 minutes OR infused over 15 minutes every 12 hours
-Maximum dose: 40 mg/day

16 YEARS AND OLDER:
Oral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg orally 2 times day
-Duration of therapy: Up to 6 weeks

Parenteral:
-Usual dose: 20 mg IV every 12 hours

Comments:
-The concomitant use of conservative measures (e.g., thickened feedings) should be considered during treatment.
-Parenteral treatment should be limited to patients who cannot tolerate oral formulations.
-Uncontrolled clinical trials have used oral doses up to 2 mg/kg in patients 1 to 16 years of age with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with/without esophagitis (including erosions ad ulcerations).
-Oral dissolving tablets may be used in patients 6 years and older, but should be taken as an intact tablet.

Uses:
-Short-term treatment of esophagitis due to gastroesophageal reflux disease, including erosive/ulcerative disease diagnosed by endoscopy
-Alternative to the oral dosage forms for short-term use in specific hospitalized patients who are unable to take oral medication for GERD

Usual Pediatric Dose for Dyspepsia:

12 YEARS AND OLDER:
Oral:
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Formulations:
-Treatment dose: 10 to 20 mg orally once
-Symptom prevention: 10 to 20 mg orally once 10 to 60 minutes prior to consuming food/beverages that cause heartburn
-Maximum dose: 2 tablets/day
-Maximum duration of therapy: 14 days

Comments:
-OTC formulations should be taken with a glass of water.
-Chewable tablet formulations should be chewed completely before swallowing.

Uses:
-Relief of heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach
-Prevention of heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach brought on by eating/drinking certain foods and beverages

What other drugs will affect famotidine?

Other drugs may interact with famotidine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about famotidine.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 13.01.

Date modified: June 01, 2017
Last reviewed: August 11, 2014

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