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All about: Famotidine

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Generic name: Famotidine
Brand names: Pepcid AC, Pepcid

Why is Famotidine prescribed?

Pepcid is prescribed for the short-term treatment of active duodenal ulcer (in the upper intestine) for 4 to 8 weeks and for active, benign gastric ulcer (in the stomach) for 6 to 8 weeks. It is prescribed for maintenance therapy, at reduced dosage, after a duodenal ulcer has healed. It is also used for short-term treatment of GERD, a condition in which the acid contents of the stomach flow back into the food canal (esophagus), and for resulting inflammation of the esophagus. And it is prescribed for certain diseases that cause the stomach to produce excessive quantities of acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Pepcid belongs to a class of drugs known as histamine H2 blockers.

An over-the-counter formulation, Pepcid AC, is used to relieve and prevent heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour stomach.

Most important fact about Famotidine

To cure your ulcer, you need to take Pepcid for the full time of treatment your doctor prescribes. Keep taking the drug even if you begin to feel better.

How should you take Famotidine?

It may take several days for Pepcid to begin relieving stomach pain. You can use antacids for the pain at the same time you take Pepcid.

If you are taking Pepcid suspension, shake it vigorously for 5 to 10 seconds before use.

Take Pepcid AC with water. To prevent symptoms take it 1 hour before a meal you expect will cause trouble.

--If you miss a dose...

Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature in a dry place. Protect the suspension from freezing, and discard any unused portion after 30 days.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Pepcid.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Headache

Why should Famotidine not be prescribed?

If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Pepcid, or a comparable H2 blocker such as Tagamet, Zantac, or Axid, you should not take Famotidine. Make sure your doctor is aware of any drug reactions you have experienced.

Special warnings about Famotidine

If you have stomach cancer, Pepcid may relieve the symptoms without curing the disease. Your doctor will be careful to rule out this possibility.

Use Pepcid with caution if you have severe kidney disease.

Although heartburn and acid indigestion are common, see your doctor if you have trouble swallowing or abdominal pain that does not let up.

Do not take 2 tablets of Pepcid AC a day continuously for more than 2 weeks unless your doctor tells you to.

You can help avoid heartburn and acid indigestion by:

Not lying down soon after eating
Keeping your weight down
Stopping smoking, or at least cutting down
Avoiding or limiting caffeine, chocolate, fatty foods, and alcohol
Not eating just before bedtime

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Famotidine

If Pepcid is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either can be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important that you check with your doctor before combining Pepcid with the following:

Itraconazole (Sporanox)
Ketoconazole (Nizoral)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effects of Pepcid during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Pepcid may appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If Famotidine is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with Famotidine is finished.

Recommended dosage

ADULTS

Duodenal Ulcer

The usual starting dose is 40 milligrams or 5 milliliters (1 teaspoonful) once a day at bedtime. Results should be seen within 4 weeks, and Famotidine should not be used at full dosage longer than 6 to 8 weeks. Your doctor may have you take 20 milligrams or 2.5 milliliters (half a teaspoonful) twice a day. The normal maintenance dose after your ulcer has healed is 20 milligrams or 2.5 milliliters (half a teaspoonful) once a day at bedtime.

Benign Gastric Ulcer

The usual dose is 40 milligrams or 5 milliliters (1 teaspoonful) once a day at bedtime.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The usual dose is 20 milligrams or 2.5 milliliters (1/2 teaspoonful) twice a day for up to 6 weeks. For inflammation of the esophagus due to GERD, the dose is 20 or 40 milligrams or 2.5 to 5 milliliters twice a day for up to 12 weeks.

Excess Acid Conditions (such as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome)

The usual starting dose is 20 milligrams every 6 hours, although some people need a higher dose. Doses of up to 160 milligrams every 6 hours have been given in severe cases.

If your kidneys are not functioning properly, your doctor will adjust the dosage.

CHILDREN 1 TO 16 YEARS OLD

Peptic Ulcer

The usual daily dose is 0.5 milligram per 2.2 pounds of body weight. The entire dose may be given at bedtime, or divided and given in 2 smaller doses. Do not give more than 40 milligrams per day.

If your child's kidneys are not functioning properly, your doctor will adjust the dosage.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The usual daily dose is 1 milligram per 2.2 pounds of body weight, divided and given in 2 smaller doses. Do not exceed 40 milligrams daily.

If your child's kidneys are not functioning properly, your doctor will adjust the dosage.

INFANTS UNDER 12 MONTHS OLD

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The usual starting dose of the oral suspension is 0.5 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight once a day for infants under 3 months and twice a day for infants 3 to 11 months. The dosage can be given for up to 8 weeks. Your doctor may also recommend additional measures to relieve the symptoms, such as thickening the child's food.

If your child's kidneys are not functioning properly, your doctor will adjust the dosage.

PEPCID AC

Do not give Pepcid AC to children under 12 years old unless your doctor approves. Swallow tablets or gelcaps with a glass of water. Chew the chewable tablets completely; do not swallow them whole. Do not take more than 2 pills a day or take them for longer than 2 weeks unless your doctor approves.

For Prevention

Take 1 tablet, gelcap, or chewable tablet 15 minutes or more before eating a meal that could cause heartburn.

For Relief

Take 1 tablet, gelcap, or chewable tablet.

Overdosage

Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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