Famotidine, marketed as the brand name drug Pepcid or Pepcid AC, is a medication used to treat various digestive conditions. In its non-prescription form, famotidine helps to treat and prevent heartburn. Prescription famotidine treats acid reflux disease and stomach ulcers. The side effects of famotidine are generally limited in number and severity and they include constipation, diarrhea, and headache or dizziness.
According to the Mayo Clinic, famotidine is classified as a H2-blocker, meaning it inhibits the body’s ability to produce stomach acid. It can be taken in either tablet and liquid form, depending on the type of medication. Over-the-counter famotidine or Pepcid is used to treat acid reflux that ranges from occasional heartburn to gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Prescription famotidine is typically used to treat ulcers. Ulcers are frequently the result of an infection and are treated with a combination of antibiotics and acid blockers like Pepcid.
The most common side effects of famotidine or Pepcid are constipation or diarrhea, headache, and dizziness, per the National Institutes of Health. Side effects of famotidine can vary depending on a number of factors including the user’s physiology and the strength of the medication. Less common side effects of famotidine are stomach discomfort, weight loss, difficulty sleeping, irritability, muscle cramps or reduced function, and impaired sexual function.
Because it works by reducing levels of stomach acid, one side effect of famotidine is a reduced ability to digest certain nutrients. According to the University of Michigan Health System, vitamin B12 , folic acid (vitamin B9), and iron are among the biggest victims. This can occur when famotidine is used over an extended period of time as the effects become cumulative.
Rarely, famotidine or Pepcid can cause some serious side effects that should be brought to medical attention as soon as possible. Serious side effects of famotidine include pain during urination, blood in urine or stool, flu-like symptoms, oral sores, skin lesions, and abnormal bleeding. Though uncommon, an allergic reaction to famotidine can produce such symptoms as swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, itchiness, hives, and skin rashes.
Famotidine, also known as the brand name drug Pepcid, is a type of H2-blocker that hampers the production of stomach acid. It is used in the treatment of various digestive issues including gastroesophageal reflux disease and stomach ulcers. Serious side effects of famotidine or Pepcid are uncommon, but if you experience complications like discolored urine, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the skin or throat, contact your doctor immediately.
Famotidine. National Institutes of Health.
Famotidine. University of Michigan Health System.
Famotidine (Oral Route). Mayo Clinic.