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Famotidine (Generic Pepcid)
What Is Famotidine?
Famotidine is a drug that’s primarily used to target stomach ulcers and other ulcers inside the digestive system. It belongs to a class of drugs called H2 blockers (histamine-2 blockers) that target parts of the stomach producing stomach acid.
This drug is available under numerous brand names, though the most common one is Pepcid. You may also find it under the names Fluxid or Dyspep.
Typically, when handed out as a prescription, Famotidine is available in tablet form. If the tablets do not have the required efficacy, some patients may require an injectable solution instead.
How Does Famotidine Work?
As an H2 blocker, Famotidine directly targets the cells in the stomach that produce stomach acid. It blocks these cells from producing excess acid, which often causes a range of stomach problems.
Stomach acid is naturally occurring and helps to break down food after it is ingested. However, too much stomach acid can be a negative thing as it irritates the stomach lining and can flow back up the digestive tract, causing issues such as heartburn or stomach pain.
Famotidine does not prevent stomach acid secretion but will reduce how much is produced.
What Is Famotidine Used For?
This drug can be used to treat a range of conditions affecting the stomach, intestines, and throat, including:
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
- Erosive esophagitis
Moreover, Famotidine is capable of treating common symptoms caused by excess stomach acid, such as:
- A constant sore throat
- A chronic cough
- Stomach pain
- Acid reflux
- Issues swallowing
Using Famotidine to control stomach acid levels is essential to reduce the chances of ulcers forming in the digestive system. There are two types of ulcers that can form: gastric ulcers in the stomach, and duodenal ulcers in the small intestine. While ulcers are largely formed by the presence of bacteria or an overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) excess stomach acid can further aggravate ulcers and make them worse.
Consequently, doctors will often prescribe Famotidine as a treatment for stomach ulcers to help them naturally recover quickly. Reducing stomach acid will prevent the ulcers from becoming overly irritated and more painful.
What Are the Side Effects of Famotidine?
Famotidine is a common drug used for lots of common digestive disorders. As a consequence, it will have a variety of potential side effects that vary in severity.
The most common – and least severe – side effects of Famotidine include:
- Mild headaches
- Dizzy spells
If you experience these side effects after taking Famotidine, there is usually nothing to worry about. They should fade within a few hours of taking, particularly if this is your first time using the drug. If they persist for more than a few weeks and get progressively worse, contact a medical professional immediately.
This medication may also produce more alarming side effects. If you experience any of the following, stop taking Famotidine and contact your doctor right away:
- Excessive dizziness
- Heart irregularities
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- Decreased sex drive
- Chronic stomach pain
- A reduction in appetite
- A sudden feeling of weakness
- Skin yellowing
- Mouth ulcers
These side effects are not common and usually indicate a problematic reaction to the medication. Be sure to consult with a doctor before taking Famotidine to ensure you are not taking other drugs that can negatively interact with this one, or that you don’t have allergies that can cause complications.
How to Take Famotidine?
Your Famotidine prescription will come as a tablet when obtained from Dr. House. This is the easiest way to take this medication as it can be consumed with a glass of water.
It is available in different dosages, but the exact dosage and frequency with which you take this medication depends on your particular medical condition. Your doctor will clearly outline how often to take Famotidine when they prescribe the drug to you. It will also come with an information sheet that explains dosages and what you can/can’t take alongside this medication.
Typically, it is best to take Famotidine an hour before eating foods that trigger heartburn or indigestion. You can also take it before bedtime to calm any gastrointestinal symptoms that may keep you up at night.
Continue taking Famotidine as prescribed by the doctor. If your symptoms fail to improve – or get worse – after taking this medication for over a week, contact your doctor right away. You may need to reduce or increase your dose to see the desired effects. If you continue to see no results, your doctor will prescribe alternative treatments for your specific condition.
Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.
If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.
Frequently asked questions
What to Avoid While Taking Famotidine?
There are a few things to avoid while taking Famotidine such as:
- Alcohol – Drinking alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and increase stomach acid production, which may reduce the effectiveness of Famotidine.
- Smoking – Nicotine can also increase stomach acid production.
- Caffeine – Caffeine can increase stomach acid production.
- OTC Antacids – Some antacids can interfere with the absorption of famotidine.
- Certain medications – Famotidine can affect the absorption of certain medications that require an acidic stomach environment. Also, it may interact with other medications and supplements. So make sure to ask your doctor what medications could negatively interact with Famotidine.
Because Famotidine can potentially cause dizziness or drowsiness in some people you should be cautious of driving, operating heavy machinery, or any other activity that requires you to be alert when you first start taking the drug. You should wait until you know how the drug affects you before engaging in any of these activities.
Also, it’s important to note that the list of things and medications you should avoid above is not an exhaustive list. Be sure to read your medication information sheet in full and ask your doctor any questions you may have about activities or other medications you are taking that could interfere with the efficacy of Famotidine.
Always be sure to follow all directions that come with your prescription when it comes to taking Famotidine.
What Is the Most Common Side Effect of Famotidine?
The most common side effect of Famotidine is mild headaches.
The exact side effects of famotidine can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience side effects when taking this medication.
Other common side effects include:
The list of side effects is not exhaustive – be sure to consult your doctor if you experience any of the more serious side effects.
How Long Does It Take for Famotidine to Work?
Famotidine usually starts to work within an hour of taking it, but the full effects may take up to three hours.
It is important to take the medication as prescribed by your doctor and not in excess as this could cause adverse side effects.
What Is the Typical Dosage for Famotidine?
The typical dosage for Famotidine depends on the condition being treated.
For treating GERD in adults, the usual dosage of Famotidine is 20mg taken twice a day. For some people, this may be increased to 40mg taken twice a day depending on the severity of symptoms.
For an exact dosage, it’s best to consult with a doctor. They will be able to provide you with a prescription tailored to your individual needs and medical history.
It is not recommended that you take more than the prescribed amount on your own as this can lead to serious adverse effects.
Can You Get Famotidine Over-The-Counter (OTC)?
Famotidine is available as both a prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication.
Can I Get Famotidine Online?
Yes, with DrHouse you can get Famotidine prescribed by a doctor online. We offer an on-demand telehealth service that connects you with a doctor who can evaluate your medical history and prescribe Famotidine if it is appropriate for you. If your doctor prescribes the medication you can either get it sent to your local pharmacy or have it delivered to your home.
How Do I Get an Online Prescription for Famotidine?
Getting an online prescription for Famotidine is simple and fast with DrHouse. All you have to do is:
- Sign up
- Download our telehealth app
- Fill in your personal information
- Answer a few questions about your medical history
- Start an on-demand virtual visit with one of our healthcare providers
Once you have started the virtual visit, your provider will determine whether you are a good candidate for Famotidine. If they deem it to be an appropriate treatment option for you, they will issue an online prescription which can then be filled at any pharmacy of your choice.
What Are Some Other Medications Available for Treating Acid Reflux or GERD?
In addition to Famotidine (generic for Pepcid), there are several other medications used to manage acid reflux or GERD. They include:
- Omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Pantoprazole (Protonix)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid)