July 9, 2024

Is It Safe to Take Famotidine for Acid Reflux?



u003culu003ern tu003cliu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eFamotidine is one of the safest and most effective medicines in the world.u003c/spanu003eu003c/liu003ern tu003cliu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003e0.5% of people experience constipation and dry mouth as side effects of famotidine. While other side effects listed on the internet have no scientific data support them.u003c/spanu003eu003c/liu003ern tu003cliu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eFamotidine (an H2-blocker) is far safer than PPIs such as omeprazole, Prilosec, etc.; it can be taken at 80mg daily long-term without any ill effects, including during pregnancy. u003c/spanu003eu003c/liu003ernu003c/ulu003ernu003cstrongu003eJoin Facebook Live with Dr. Jamie Koufman the 1st Wednesday of the Month at Noon Eastern Time; and if You Have Questions About Respiratory Reflux Ask Them There. And If You Miss It Live, It Gets Posted to YouTube Afterwards.u003c/strongu003e

Famotidine is one of the safest and most effective medicines we have. Side effects are minimal, infrequent, and 100% reversible. Famotidine is the best acid-suppressive medicine for acid reflux.

What Is Famotidine?

Famotidine is in a class of medications called Histamine 2-antagonists (H2As). They alter the function of histamine 2 receptors in the stomach that regulate acid secretion. H2As are also called H2-blockers because they block (decrease) the action of the parietal cells in the stomach that make the stomach acid.

Cimetidine (Tagamet) was the first H2A to be introduced in the United States in 1977, followed by ranitidine (Zantac) in 1983, and famotidine (Pepcid) in 1986. Ranitidine was removed from the market in 2020 because of concerns that it was contaminated with a carcinogen. 

Famotidine is the most potent H2 antagonist, seven times stronger than ranitidine and twenty times stronger than cimetidine.

What Are The Side Effects of Famotidine? 

I have treated thousands of patients with famotidine at the 80mg per day dose, often for months or years. In my experience, constipation and dry mouth are the only side effects of famotidine. Interestingly dry mouth, maybe seen in a dozen of my patients, is not listed as a side effect on the web. That said, dry mouth with famotidine is almost always because it is combined with other medications that cause mouth dryness, such as allergy medications.  

What Aren’t The Side Effects of Famotidine?

You know what happens when someone tells a story to another person, and that person tells their mother-in-law, and then the mother-in-law tells a friend, and then the friend tells his plumber, and then the plumber puts it on Facebook? All of a sudden, the original story bears no resemblance to the old one. That’s what happened with the side effects of famotidine on the web; that’s why they are so exaggerated and erroneous.

In 2018, Medical News Today published an incredibly misleading article about famotidine, allegedly reviewed by the Creighton University Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice. The article listed no less than 20 completely unproven side effects of famotidine. There’s absolutely no scientific evidence linking famotidine to those symptoms. 

FAMOTIDINE DOES NOT CAUSE anxiety, agitation, diarrhea, depression, dizziness, nausea, psychomotor disturbances, changes in taste, headaches, hallucinations, stomach pain, decreased libido, seizures, rash, mouth blisters, fainting, poor sleep, muscle weakness, crying for no clear reason, or abdominal pain. 

Famotidine causes no behavioral or cognitive dysfunction, and it has no effects on B12, magnesium, or calcium absorption. In addition, it has nothing to do with hip fractures, kidney, heart, brain problems, and esophageal cancer … that are linked to the long-term use of PPIs. H2As and PPIs should never be confused; they are nothing alike.

What dose is used, and for how long is famotidine Used Safely? 

I recommend famotidine 20mg first thing in the morning, 20mg 15-30 minutes before dinner, and a double dose (40 mg) before bed. This will not cure your reflux as famotidine is one of several therapeutic recommendations to control acid reflux, especially respiratory reflux.See my Reflux Detox Program. Again, the web says 40mg per day should be max … but that’s not therapeutic and not true in reality. 


What are the differences between the H2-receptor antagonists?

Histamine Type-2 Receptor Antagonists (H2 Blockers)

Comparison of famotidine with cimetidine and ranitidine

Pharmacology of H2-receptor antagonists: an overview

Effect of famotidine on cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions induced in post-COVID-19 infection: A randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study

Famotidine does not induce long QT syndrome: experimental evidence from in vitro and in vivo test systems 

Analysis of an ECG record database reveals QT interval prolongation potential of famotidine in a large Korean population

Histamine Type-2 Receptor Antagonists (H2 Blockers)

Ranitidine Use and Incident Cancer in a Multinational Cohort

Please subscribe to this blog (see bottom below) to stay current; if you would like to schedule a virtual consultation with me, you can Book It Online.

Books by Dr. Koufman

Subscribe to the Newsletter Now!

join the email list now to get notified about new blog posts & books from dr. koufman