Pepcid (Famotidine) Dosage and Side Effects
Prescription PEPCID is used to treat conditions such as ulcers (sores in the stomach lining or small intestine), gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD (when stomach acid irritates the esophagus, causing heartburn and other problems), and certain tumors in the pancreas or the small intestine (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome).
Although PEPCID is not approved for veterinary use, veterinarians do commonly give the medication to dog and cats to suppress stomach acid if they are producing too much.
Proper Use of this medication
Prescription PEPCID comes as a tablet (20 mg or 40 mg) or a liquid to take orally. OTC famotidine is available as a tablet, chewable tablet, or capsule.
Doses of prescription PEPCID depend on the condition being treated. Here are recommended doses for some of its more common uses:
- For duodenal ulcer, the usual dose is 40 mg daily at bedtime or 20 mg twice a day for 6 to 8 weeks, followed by a maintenance dose of about 20 mg at bedtime.
- For benign gastric ulcer the usual dose is 40 mg daily at bedtime.
- For GERD, the usual dose is 20 mg twice daily for up to 6 weeks. If you have esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus), the dose is usually 20 or 40 mg twice daily for up to 12 weeks.
- For children under a year of age who have GERD, the usual starting dose is 0.5 mg for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight of oral PEPCID for up to 8 weeks. It's given once daily to those under three months and twice daily to those older than 3 months but less than one year.
- For children with peptic ulcers who are age 1 to 16 years, the dose is usually 0.5mg per kg of body weight at bedtime or twice a day up to 40 mg daily.
- For children ages 1 to 16 years with GERD, the dose is 1 mg per kg of weight a day, or divided twice a day up to 40 mg.
Do not take more prescription PEPCID than recommended. Oral doses of up to 640 mg a day have reportedly been given to adults with conditions involving excess stomach acid with no serious problems. However, you should stick with the doses your doctor recommends.
Do not take more than two tablets of OTC famotidine in a 24-hour period and don't take it for longer than 2 weeks unless your doctor recommends it. If you use OTC famotidine for 2 weeks and still have symptoms of heartburn or indigestion, stop the drug and call your doctor.
Missed Dose of PEPCID
If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly time for the next dose. If it's almost time for the next one, skip the missed dose and resume your normal medication schedule. Do not double up.
Side effects most often reported by PEPCID users are:
Reports show that these side effects were infrequent, however. In one clinical trial, less than 5 percent of people had headache, and less than 2 percent had dizziness, constipation, or diarrhea from taking PEPCID.
Severe Side Effects of PEPCID
Severe side effects are also rare. Those that have been reported are heart rhythm problems, jaundice, liver enzyme abnormalities, facial swelling, and grand mal seizure.
Warnings and Precautions
If you have kidney problems, your doctor may not prescribe or recommend PEPCID. Studies show that PEPCID can have adverse effects on the central nervous system in people who have moderate to severe kidney problems.
Pregnancy and PEPCID
PEPCID is in Pregnancy category B, according to the FDA, which means that animal studies have not found a risk to the developing fetus, but there are no adequate studies of the drug in pregnant women.
Ask your doctor if you can take PEPCID if you are pregnant.
Studies have found that PEPCID is secreted into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, you should discuss whether to discontinue nursing or stop taking the drug with your doctor.
Interactions with this medication
Among the drugs that PEPCID may interact with are:
- Atazanavir (Reyataz), an HIV/AIDS drug
- Tizanidine (Zanaflex), a muscle relaxant
- Naproxen (Aleve) and other pain relievers
You should always tell your doctor about any prescription, non-prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), illegal and recreational drugs, herbal remedies, nutritional and dietary supplements, and all other drugs and treatments you're taking.
PEPCID and Alcohol
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking PEPCID, as it may be damaging to your stomach.
Other related products
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.