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What Is Famotidine IV?

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  • Written By: Clara Kedrek
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Famotidine intravenous (IV) is a medication used to decrease the amount of acid in the stomach. While famotidine is most commonly taken in pill form, it can also be administered as a liquid, injected directly into the veins. The benefit of this form of administration is that it allows patients unable to eat or swallow to obtain the effects of the medication. Common uses for famotidine IV include the treatment of stomach ulcers, the prevention of stomach ulcers, and management of gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Side effects can include dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea.

While the medication famotidine is most commonly given in pill form, it can also be injected directly into the veins as famotidine IV. The benefit of administering the medication through this route is that it can be given to patients unable to take pills. Most commonly this situation occurs in the hospital, when patients might be too sick to eat, or might be abstaining from food as part of a treatment regimen for an underlying disease. In addition, many patients that are critically ill and in intensive care units often receive this medication as a preventative measure, even if they don’t have any disease in their stomach or intestines, in order to prevent the development of stress ulcers in the stomach.

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The mechanism of action of famotidine IV is that it blocks receptors in the gastrointestinal tract that normally bind to a chemical species called histamine. Typically, when histamine binds to these H2 receptors, it causes a chain of chemical reactions that increases the production of acid by the stomach. When the receptors are blocked by a medication such as famotidine, this chain of events cannot occur, and less acid is produced in the stomach.

There are a number of different indications for the use of famotidine IV. Patients with ulcers either in their stomachs or small intestines can benefit from the medication since having less acidity in this part of the gastrointestinal tract results in less irritation of the ulcers. People who suffer from heartburn, a condition officially known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), can experience decreased symptoms because the acid traveling up from the stomach and into the esophagus is the cause of the burning sensation they might experience after eating. Another use for the medication is in esophagitis, which is a condition in which the esophagus is inflamed and irritated, either from GERD, infection, or irritation caused by swallowing pills.

Side effects caused by famotidine IV can include dizziness, headache, diarrhea, and constipation. Occasionally, patients taking this medication can experience confusion, especially if they are elderly and hospitalized. Rarer side effects can include jaundice, swelling, insomnia, ringing in the ears, and decreased numbers of platelets in the blood.

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