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All about: famotidine

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Generic Name: famotidine (fa MAH ti deen)
Brand Names: Mylanta AR, Pepcid, Pepcid AC, Pepcid RPD

What is famotidine?

Famotidine is in a class of drugs called histamine receptor antagonists. Famotidine works by decreasing the amount of acid the stomach produces.

Famotidine is used to treat and prevent ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Famotidine is also used to treat conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid and conditions in which acid comes up into the esophagus and causes heartburn, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Famotidine may also be used for conditions other than those listed in this medication guide.

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

Do not stop taking this medication without first talking to your doctor. It may take up to 8 weeks for an ulcer to heal. Do not take antacids within 1 hour of taking famotidine. Antacids may decrease the effectiveness of famotidine.

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

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have

  • kidney disease; or
  • liver disease;
  • trouble or pain swallowing food;

  • vomiting with blood; or

  • bloody or black stools.

You may not be able to take famotidine, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

The Pepcid RPD orally disintegrating tablets contain 1.05 mg phenylalanine per 20 mg tablet and 2.10 mg phenylalanine per 40 mg oral tablet. Individuals with phenylketonuria may need to monitor their intake of this additive.

Famotidine is in the FDA pregnancy category B. This means that it is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take famotidine without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Famotidine passes into breast milk. It is not known whether famotidine will harm a nursing infant. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take famotidine?

Take famotidine exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each oral dose with a full glass of water.

Chew the chewable tablets thoroughly before swallowing.

Administration with liquid is not necessary for the Pepcid RPD orally disintegrating tablets. Just prior to taking a dose, peel open the blister pack with dry hands and place the tablet on the tongue, where it will dissolve and be swallowed with the saliva.

Shake the Pepcid suspension vigorously for 5 to 10 seconds before measuring a dose. To ensure that you get the correct dose, use a dose-measuring cup or spoon, not a regular table spoon to measure a dose of the suspension. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Over-the-counter famotidine is usually taken 15 minutes before consuming heartburn-inducing foods or beverages.

Do not stop taking this medication without first talking to your doctor. It may take up to 8 weeks for an ulcer to heal. Store famotidine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of a famotidine overdose include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased saliva production, difficulty breathing, and a fast heartbeat.

What should I avoid while taking famotidine?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activities while taking famotidine unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Famotidine side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking famotidine and contact your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment.
  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);

  • easy or unusual bruising or bleeding;

  • bleeding gums;

  • irregular heartbeat;

  • yellowing of the skin or eyes; or

  • a rash.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take famotidine and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • dizziness;

  • headache; or

  • diarrhea, nausea, or constipation.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect famotidine?

Do not take antacids within 1 hour of taking famotidine. Antacids may decrease the effectiveness of famotidine.

Famotidine may affect the actions of other medications by changing the acidity of the stomach. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines during treatment with famotidine, including herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about famotidine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Famotidine is available with a prescription under the brand name Pepcid. It is also available over the counter under the brand name Pepcid AC. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Pepcid 20 mg--U-shaped, beige, film-coated tablets

  • Pepcid 40 mg--U-shaped, light-brown/orange, film-coated tablets

  • Pepcid RPD Orally Disintegrating Tablets 20 mg-hexagonal, pale rose colored tablets

  • Pepcid RPD Orally Disintegrating Tablets 40 mg-hexagonal, pale rose colored tablets

  • Pepcid Suspension 40 mg/5 mL-off-white, cherry-banana, mint flavored suspension

  • 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.
  • 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 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 8.01. Revision Date: 12/17/04 10:56:48 AM.

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