Famotidine is available in various forms – film-coated tablets, chewable tablets, orally disintegrating tablets, capsules, oral suspensions and injectable solutions. It is administered either orally or intravenously. Famotidine is also a part of a number of combined drugs aimed at alleviating heartburn. Famotidine itself is not designed to bring immediate relief in the cases of heartburn but to prevent it. So it is often combined with agents that bring fast relief of heartburn such as calcium carbonate. Among these combined medications are Pepcid Complete and PepcidTwo.
In general, famotidine is used in the treatment of erosive gastritis, stomach and duodenal ulcers and conditions connected with hypersecretion of stomach acid. Reducing the secretion of hydrochloric acid is necessary to help the ulcers heal. Depending on the condition that is treated, different doses of famotidine and different duration of the treatment are recommended. In low doses (10-20mg tablets) famotidine is available as an over-the-counter medicine. Higher doses require a prescription.
- For the treatment of active gastrointestinal ulcers – the recommended dose is 40 mg per day. It can be taken once a day before bedtime or it can be divided in two doses of 20mg taken morning and evening. The ulcers usually heal within 4 to 8 weeks. After that a prophylactic dose of 20 mg before bedtime is recommended for up to a year.
- Erosive gastritis – a single dose of 40 mg before bedtime or 20 mg 2 times a day. The duration of the treatment is about 3-4 weeks.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – the same doses apply. The duration of the treatment is 10-12 weeks.
- Conditions connected with pathological hypersecretion of stomach acid (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome) – the recommended dose is 20 mg every six hours. Your doctor can increase the dose up to 160 mg every six hours depending on the severity of the condition.
- Heartburn relief –in this case famotidine (10mg) is usually combined with antiacids.
Dose adjustment in the case of renal or liver dysfunction:
In these cases a lower dose per day is recommended (20mg) or longer periods between famotidine administration (36- 48 hours).
There is no need of dose adjustment in senior patents.
Famotidine should not be administered to children under the age of 12 without a consultation with a healthcare provider. The usual dose for children over one year old and infants is 0,5mg/kg/day given twice a day.
What to remember when taking famotidine
Before starting treatment with famotidine, inform your doctor about any other drugs that you are taking, other health conditions or allergies that you have. Do not take famotidine without consultation if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you need to take famotidine for more than 14 days, consult your doctor. Heartburn, nausea, vomiting or chest pain may be signs of serious conditions.