What is Famotidine?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Famotidine is a medication used to combat a number of different symptoms related to excess stomach acid. It is an ingredient in many popular over-the-counter (OTC) indigestion tablets to help with occasional heartburn. People who have stomach ulcers, severe heartburn, throat inflammation, or other serious complications can obtain a high-strength prescription solution of famotidine as well. The drug works by slowing or stopping the production of natural stomach acids and blocking the immune system's inflammatory response. It is important to follow the directions on the product label or prescription bottle exactly to achieve the maximum effects and limit the chances of adverse reactions.

OTC famotidine is available at most pharmacies and supermarkets. It comes in chewable tablets, extended-release capsules, and liquid solution. In some people, spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, and other products increase the acidity of stomach fluids and cause them to back up into the esophagus. When famotidine is taken before or after a meal, it helps to relieve burning, chest pains, burping, and other symptoms related to gastrointestinal reflux by leveling out the acidity of stomach fluids.


People who suffer from chronic heartburn, indigestion, and stomach ulcers can benefit from taking prescription-strength famotidine. Liquid solutions and capsules containing high concentrations of the drug inhibit the production of new stomach acid and block the release of antibodies called histamines in the digestive tract. Histamines are responsible for triggering inflammation and irritation that eventually lead to ulcers. A doctor may prescribe famotidine as a preventive medicine to be taken every day or as a remedy for acute attacks of severe heartburn.

It is possible to experience negative side effects when using either OTC or prescription famotidine, though they are usually mild. A person may have digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or vomiting. Headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, and fatigue are less common. Some patients taking prescription-strength medication experience joint and muscle aches, increased heart rate, and mental confusion. Allergic reactions that cause breathing difficulties and skin hives may also occur. It is important to report any mild side effects to a doctor and seek immediate care in the case of arrhythmia or breathing problems.

An individual who experiences frequent episodes of indigestion and heartburn that do not respond to OTC drugs should speak with his or her doctor. In addition to providing prescription famotidine, a physician may also suggest avoiding certain foods and making other lifestyle changes. Getting plenty of exercise, avoiding big meals before bedtime, and quitting smoking can help to ease heartburn symptoms in most people.


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