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Famotidine, sold under the product name Pepcid and its variations, is a histamine receptor antagonist (H2 blocker), which in effect decreases the amount of stomach acid produced. It is usually prescribed for the relief and treatment of ulcers in the intestines and the stomach. Ulcers, which are sores that may develop in the stomach or intestine lining is usually as a result of excessive acid. The excessive production could be a result of certain conditions such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Pepcid may also be used to provide relief for the damage caused by the ascension of the acid from the stomach to the esophagus, an occurrence commonly referred to as “heartburn.” This acid reflux could be caused by disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease. It could also be attributed to the intake of certain food and drink.

Information you should know

As with any medication, a physician should first be consulted. If Pepcid is prescribed by the doctor, it should be taken as prescribed and intake should not be stopped until the doctor allows it. Pepcid is often taken to allow any ulcerations time to heal, and may take up to 8 weeks. Antacids should be avoided within an hour of taking Pepcid as it may compromise the efficacy of the medication. Other over-the-counter medications may also have interaction with Pepcid and should be consulted with the physician before intake, including herbal preparations and food supplements.

Pepcid is contraindicated for certain conditions such as kidney or liver disease. If there is pain or difficulty in swallowing food, bloody vomiting or bloody or black stools, the physician should be informed before taking Pepcid. It may be contraindicated, or requires special dosages and monitoring. Some types of Pepcid contain phenylalanine, which could have an interaction in patients with phenylketonuria. Pregnant and lactating women must first consult a physician before continuing to take Pepcid although the danger to unborn and breastfeeding babies have not been established.

Directions for taking Pepcid

The formulation comes in oral suspension, tablet and chewable tablet forms. Depending on the type prescribed, the physician will provide directions on how it should be taken. If in doubt, ask the physician, nurse or pharmacist on the proper way of taking Pepcid. It is typically taken 15 minutes before any food or beverage intake. Avoid double dosing in case of a missed dose. An overdose could result, in which case medical attention should be sought immediately. Overdosing may manifest with nausea, diarrhea, and excess salivation, breathing difficulty, rapid heartbeat and vomiting.

Serious side effects that would make it necessary to take Pepcid include obvious allergic reactions (swelling of the tongue or face, hives, closing of the throat), bruising and bleeding, irregular heartbeat, jaundice and rashes. Less alarming side effects include dizziness and headaches, diarrhea, nausea and constipation.


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