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    Acid Reflux
    1234 · 20 min read

    A beginner's guide to Famotidine for acid reflux and heartburn

    Acid reflux and heartburn, which can cause uncomfortable sensations that burn the chest, are more than just occasional nuisances for many. Famotidine is a medication that can provide relief from both conditions. But what exactly is it, who can benefit from it, and how should it be properly used? In this guide, we will explore Famotidine, answering all of the questions you need to know as well as addressing other frequently asked concerns. 

    Lady clutching her stomach due to experiencing acid reflux

    What is Famotidine?

    Famotidine is a medication known as an H2-receptor antagonist. It is a highly effective medication that is used to help treat different gastrointestinal conditions such as acid reflux, gastric ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short. 

    What is the active ingredient in Famotidine?

    Famotidine contains the active ingredient of the same name. It belongs to a group of medications known as H2-receptor antagonists. It helps to treat a number of different gastrointestinal conditions by helping to reduce the amount of acid that is produced by the stomach. It works by binding itself to H2 receptors on the acid-producing cells of the stomach lining. This prevents histamine from being released, a natural process that occurs when we consume food and drink such as coffee or spicy food. 

    What form does Famotidine come in?

    Famotidine is available in numerous forms. The famotidine that you can purchase online from UK Meds is in tablet form, this is the most common form of the medication that you will find. It is also available in the form of chewable tablets, disintegrating tablets, injections and liquid. As mentioned, the most common form of Famotidine is a tablet. 

    Who is Famotidine typically used by?

    Famotidine is typically used by a wide variety of people for treating a number of different gastrointestinal conditions. Usually, it is prescribed to people who are suffering from conditions including GERD, acid reflux and gastric ulcers. It can also be used by people who regularly take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as these medications can irritate the stomach lining. In some cases, famotidine can also be used by patients suffering from Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, a condition that causes the stomach to produce too much acid due to tumours in the pancreas.

    Can adults use Famotidine?

    Yes, adults can use famotidine. In fact, it is primarily intended for adult use. As with any medication, it's crucial for adults to follow the recommended dosing instructions, be aware of potential side effects, and consult with a healthcare professional regarding its use, especially if taken alongside other medications or if the individual has other health conditions. It should be noted that adults over the age of 40 years old who are experiencing heartburn and indigestion may not be suitable for using famotidine. 

    Can children use Famotidine?

    No, children, or anyone under the age of 18 years old, should not use prescription famotidine. In some cases children may be able to use a low-strength, over-the-counter version of the medication, however, this is usually not permitted for anyone under the age of 12 years old. Always consult with a paediatrician or healthcare provider before giving any medication to a child.

    Can pregnant women use Famotidine?

    No, Famotidine is not usually prescribed to pregnant women. If you are pregnant, if you think that you may be pregnant but have yet to do a test, or if you are trying to become pregnant you will usually be prescribed an alternative medication. In some rare cases, your doctor may prescribe you Famotidine, however, this will only be the case when they feel that the benefits of using the medication outweigh the potential risks. 

    How do you use Famotidine?

    When you are using any medication it is vital that you know how to use it correctly. You should only ever use Famotidine as you have been told to by your healthcare provider. You can also refer to the instructions provided in the patient information leaflet to ensure you are using it correctly. 

    When should Famotidine be used?

    It is important that you only ever use famotidine when you have been told to by your healthcare provider. Typically, this medication will be taken at different times depending on the condition that it is being used to treat. Your doctor will usually provide you with specific instructions for using the medication correctly. Here are some broad guidelines for using Famotidine for different conditions:

    Health Condition

    Usage

    Occasional Heartburn or Acid IndigestionOnce or twice daily as needed 
    Chronic Conditions (GERD, ulcers etc)Consistent use, usually every day
    Prevention of Heartburn/Acid Reflux15-60 minutes before a meal that usually causes symptoms

    How long does Famotidine take to work?

    Famotidine typically begins working within an hour of taking the medication, offering relief from symptoms like heartburn or acid indigestion. However, the onset of action can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of symptoms, the specific condition being treated, and individual differences in how the body processes the medication.

    Does how often you take Famotidine affect how well it works?

    Yes, the frequency at which you take famotidine can affect how well it works, particularly depending on the condition being treated and the desired outcome. If you use your medication correctly, here is what you can expect in terms of efficacy:

    • Occasional Heartburn or Acid Indigestion - Relief for up to 12 hours

    • Chronic Conditions (GERD, ulcers etc) - Consistent relief

    • Prevention of Heartburn/Acid Reflux - Relief for up to 12 hours

    What are the correct dosages of Famotidine?

    The correct dosage of famotidine depends on the specific indication for use, the age of the patient, and sometimes the patient's weight or other health conditions. It is hard to say what dosage your healthcare provider will suggest for you to use, however, here are some general guidelines on what you may be given:

    • Treating Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - 20mg taken twice daily of 40mg taken at bedtime

    • Gastric Ulcers - 40mg taken at bedtime

    • Preventing Ulcers - 20mg taken once daily at bedtime

    Can missing a dose of Famotidine affect how effective it is?

    Yes, missing a dose of famotidine can affect its effectiveness, especially if the medication is being taken for a chronic condition or as part of a structured treatment regimen. If you are using the medication on an as-needed basis, it may not have any significant consequences if you miss a dose, however, if you are using it to treat chronic conditions such as GERD, you should ensure you are using it consistently so that you effectively treat your condition. 

    Does the severity of GERD affect how much Famotidine to take?

    Yes, the severity of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can influence the dosage of famotidine a healthcare provider might prescribe. For example, mild to moderate GERD may require a lower dose or even an over-the-counter alternative. Severe GERD may require prescription famotidine at a dosage of 20mg taken twice daily or 40mg taken once daily at bedtime. 

    How effective is Famotidine in treating GERD?

    Famotidine is effective in reducing the production of stomach acid and is commonly used to treat symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, its efficacy can vary depending on the severity of GERD and individual patient factors. A 1995 study found that “famotidine doses of 5, 10, and 20 mg were significantly more effective than placebo in preventing symptoms of upper gastrointestinal distress” (Gottlieb et al, 1995)

    How can the effectiveness of Famotidine be improved?

    While famotidine is effective in reducing stomach acid, its effectiveness in managing GERD or other acid-related conditions can be enhanced by combining it with certain lifestyle changes and other strategies. Here are some things you can do to help increase the effectiveness of your medication:

    • Change your diet: Avoid certain foods that trigger your condition, eat smaller meals and limit alcohol consumption

    • Change your lifestyle: Keep an eye on your weight, quit smoking and elevate your head by 4-6 inches in bed

    • Use your medication correctly: Follow all instructions given to you and always adhere to your prescription

    Does Famotidine interact with other drugs?

    Yes, Famotidine can interact with other medications. In fact, according to drugs.com, it is known to interact with almost 300 medications. Of those near 300 medications, 12 are considered to be major interactions, 240 are considered to be moderate, and 39 are minor. The major interactions include:

    • Atazanavir

    • Dasatinib

    • Gefitinib

    • Infigratinib

    • Neratinib

    • Ozanimod

    • Pazopanib

    • Rilpivirine

    • Selpercatinib

    • Siponimod

    • Sotorasib

    • Tizanidine

    Your doctor will be able to provide you with tailored advice when it comes to medications and interactions and will know whether or not you can use Famotidine. 

    Should you avoid taking Famotidine if you are taking medication for other health conditions?

    Yes, you should avoid using famotidine if you are using certain medications for other health conditions. As mentioned, there are around 300 medications that can interact or interfere with famotidine. These medications vary on what they are used to treat, and your doctor will be able to advise you on whether or not any medications you are using will affect your eligibility for famotidine. 

    Can you buy Famotidine over the counter?

    Yes, you are able to purchase famotidine in over-the-counter versions. These medications typically come in lower strengths than the prescription-only versions, for example, 10mg. It should be noted that over-the-counter famotidine is not very common in the United Kingdom and you may find that there is more choice of acid reducers and antacids.

    Is it more convenient to buy Famotidine online?

    Yes, it is more convenient to purchase Famotidine online rather than from an in-person pharmacy. Here are some of the advantages of purchasing medications online, including Famotidine:

    • Skip the lines when picking up your medicine.

    • Place your order instantly without any delays.

    • Private, unmarked packaging.

    • Choose your medications at your discretion.

    • Stay clear of potential germs in public waiting areas.

    • Make purchases from the comfort of your home or any location of your choice.

    • Conveniently integrates with your on-the-go life.

    Where can I buy Famotidine online in the UK?

    If you are looking to purchase Famotidine online in the United Kingdom, look no further than UK Meds. You can buy this product, as well as medications for other conditions, online right from the comfort of your own home (or wherever you may be).

    How does the process to order Famotidine work at UK Meds?

    The process of ordering Famotidine from UK Meds is quick and simple. First, select your medication and the amount you need. You then need to complete our free online consultation process that ensures the medication is right for you. After successfully completing the consultation you will then be able to complete your order. 

    Famotidine FAQs

    Why take famotidine at night?

    Usually, you will be told to use Famotidine at night time before you go to bed. This is for a number of different reasons, including:

    • Using your medication at night can help as acid reflux can sometimes be worse for people when they sleep due to lying down.

    • It can help people to remember to use their medication.

    • It can help with the absorption of the medication.

    Is Famotidine a PPI?

    A PPI is a proton pump inhibitor. Proton pump inhibitors are medications that can also be used to treat gastrointestinal conditions such as GERD. A well-known proton pump inhibitor is Omeprazole. Famotidine is NOT a proton pump inhibitor, in fact, it is an H2 receptor antagonist, also known as an H2 blocker. 

    Can famotidine cause urinary problems?

    Urinary problems are not commonly associated with famotidine when taken at recommended doses. However, there have been isolated reports of famotidine causing urinary issues. These might include urinary tract infections, urinary retention, or an increased risk of kidney problems, though these are not common side effects.

    Has famotidine been taken off the market?

    No, Famotidine has not been taken off the market in the United Kingdom. Another H2 antagonist known as Zantac (Ranitidine) was recalled in the United Kingdom in 2019 due to low levels of an impurity called NDMA being found in it. Famotidine does not contain NDMA. 

    Can you take famotidine before H-Pylori test?

    An H. pylori test is used to determine the presence of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) in the digestive tract. H. pylori infections are associated with a variety of gastrointestinal conditions, including gastritis, ulcers in the stomach or upper part of the small intestine, and even certain types of stomach cancer. It's normally advised to avoid taking acid-reducing medications, including H2 blockers like famotidine, before an H. pylori test. This is because these medications can potentially affect the accuracy of the test. 

    Does famotidine discolour stool?

    Famotidine is not typically associated with causing stool discolouration. However, many factors can influence stool colour, including diet, other medications, and certain medical conditions. Some medications, especially those containing iron or bismuth, are known to alter stool colour. For example, bismuth subsalicylate (commonly found in products like Pepto-Bismol) can darken the stool to a black or dark green colour. Iron supplements can also turn stools black or green.

    How long does it take for famotidine to leave your system?

    Famotidine is an H2 receptor antagonist used to reduce stomach acid production. The half-life of a drug is the time it takes for the concentration of the drug in the bloodstream to decrease by half. For famotidine, the average elimination half-life is approximately 2.5 to 3.5 hours in individuals with normal kidney function.

    Should you take famotidine on an empty stomach?

    Whether to take Famotidine on an empty stomach or with food depends on the reason for its use and the specific guidance given by a healthcare professional. Usually, you will need to use this medication at night before you go to bed. This will typically be after you have eaten your evening meal. This is to help reduce acid production during the night. 

    Can famotidine be stopped abruptly?

    Yes, you can stop using Famotidine abruptly as there is a low risk of withdrawal symptoms. You may find, however, that you experience something called rebound acid production. This is when there is a temporary increase in gastric acid production which can result in the return or worsening of symptoms. The risk of this however is low with H2 blockers. 

    Can famotidine cause itching?

    Famotidine, like other medications, can cause side effects. Itching is not a common side effect of famotidine, but it is possible to have an allergic reaction to any medication, including famotidine. Itching or hives are common symptoms of an allergic reaction.

    Can famotidine cause nausea?

    Yes, nausea is one of the possible side effects of famotidine, although it is generally not common. Most people tolerate famotidine well, but as with any medication, side effects can occur.

    Can famotidine cause sleep problems?

    While sleep problems are not a commonly reported side effect of famotidine, it's possible for individuals to have varying reactions to medications. Some people might experience side effects like dizziness or headache with famotidine, which could indirectly affect sleep. 

    Can famotidine help with a cough?

    One of the symptoms of GERD can be a chronic cough. This type of cough results from stomach acid refluxing into the oesophagus, leading to irritation and coughing, a condition sometimes referred to as "acid reflux cough" or "GERD cough." In such cases, by effectively reducing stomach acid and managing GERD symptoms, famotidine might indirectly help alleviate the associated cough.

    Can I take 2 famotidine at once?

    You will always need to ensure you are not exceeding the recommended dose for your specific condition or the maximum daily limit. In some cases, you will need to take two 20mg Famotidine tablets at night to treat your condition. Or, you may need to take one 40mg tablet. You are able to take two tablets, as long as you do not exceed your prescribed dosage.

    Does famotidine cause cancer?

    There is no established evidence that famotidine causes cancer. As previously mentioned, another H2 blocker called Zantac (Ranitidine) was recalled in the United Kingdom in 2019 due to low levels of an impurity called NDMA being detected. NDMA is a probable human carcinogen, meaning that it could potentially cause cancer. The recall of ranitidine does not mean that all H2 blockers or all medications for heartburn/GERD carry the same risks. Famotidine is not the same as ranitidine, and the concerns about NDMA in ranitidine do not directly apply to famotidine.

    Sources

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    Blog author

    Scott Weaver

    Scott is an experienced and professional content writer who works exclusively for UK Meds.

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