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Pronounced: PEP-sid
Generic name: Famotidine
Other brand names: Pepcid AC, Pepcid RPD

Why is this drug prescribed: Pepcid is prescribed for the short-term treatment of active duodenal ulcer (in the upper intestine) for 4 to 8 weeks and for active, benign gastric ulcer (in the stomach) for 6 to 8 weeks. It is prescribed for maintenance therapy, at reduced dosage, after a duodenal ulcer has healed. It is also used for short-term treatment of GERD, a condition in which the acid contents of the stomach flow back into the food canal (esophagus), and for resulting inflammation of the esophagus. And it is prescribed for certain diseases that cause the stomach to produce excessive quantities of acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Pepcid belongs to a class of drugs known as histamine H2blockers. An over-the-counter formulation, Pepcid AC, is used to relieve and prevent heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour stomach.

Most important fact about this drug: To cure your ulcer, you need to take Pepcid for the full time of treatment your doctor prescribes. Keep taking the drug even if you begin to feel better.

How should you take this medication: It may take several days for Pepcid to begin relieving stomach pain. You can use antacids for the pain at the same time you take Pepcid. If you are taking Pepcid suspension, shake it vigorously for 5 to 10 seconds before use. If you are taking Pepcid RPD orally disintegrating tablets, leave each tablet in its unopened blister until just before use, then open the blister with dry hands and place the tablet on your tongue. The tablet will dissolve immediately and can be swallowed with saliva. No water is needed. Take Pepcid AC with water. To prevent symptoms take it 1 hour before a meal you expect will cause trouble. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature in a dry place. Protect the suspension from freezing, and discard any unused portion after 30 days.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Pepcid. The most common side effect is headache. Less common or rare side effects may include: Abdominal discomfort, acne, agitation, altered taste, anxiety, breast development in males, changes in behavior, confusion, constipation, decreased sex drive, depression, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, dry mouth, dry skin, facial swelling due to fluid retention, fatigue, fever, flushing, grand mal seizures, hair loss, hallucinations, hives, impotence, irregular heartbeat, itching, loss of appetite, muscle, bone, or joint pain, nausea, pounding heartbeat, prickling, tingling, or pins and needles, rash, ringing in ears, severe allergic reaction, sleepiness, vomiting, weakness, wheezing, yellow eyes and skin

Why should this drug not be prescribed: If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Pepcid, or a comparable H2blocker such as Tagamet, Zantac, or Axid, you should not take this medication. Make sure your doctor is aware of any drug reactions you have experienced.

Special warnings about this medication: If you have stomach cancer, Pepcid may relieve the symptoms without curing the disease. Your doctor will be careful to rule out this possibility. Use Pepcid with caution if you have severe kidney disease. Although heartburn and acid indigestion are common, see your doctor if you have trouble swallowing or abdominal pain that does not let up. If you have a condition known as phenylkentonuria, be aware that Pepcid orally disintegrating tablets contain phenylalanine. Do not take 2 tablets of Pepcid AC a day continuously for more than 2 weeks unless your doctor tells you to. You can help avoid heartburn and acid indigestion by: Not lying down soon after eating Keeping your weight down Stopping smoking, or at least cutting down Avoiding or limiting caffeine, chocolate, fatty foods, and alcohol Not eating just before bedtime

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Pepcid is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either can be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important that you check with your doctor before combining Pepcid with the following: Itraconazole (Sporanox) Ketoconazole (Nizoral)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of Pepcid during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Pepcid may appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with this medication is finished.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: For Duodenal Ulcer The usual starting dose is 40 milligrams or 5 milliliters (1 teaspoonful) once a day at bedtime. Results should be seen within 4 weeks, and this medication should not be used at full dosage longer than 6 to 8 weeks. Your doctor may have you take 20 milligrams or 2.5 milliliters (half a teaspoonful) twice a day. The normal maintenance dose after your ulcer has healed is 20 milligrams or 2.5 milliliters (half a teaspoonful) once a day at bedtime. Benign Gastric Ulcer The usual dose is 40 milligrams or 5 milliliters (1 teaspoonful) once a day at bedtime. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) The usual dose is 20 milligrams or 2.5 milliliters (1/2 teaspoonful) twice a day for up to 6 weeks. For inflammation of the esophagus due to GERD, the dose is 20 or 40 milligrams or 2.5 to 5 milliliters twice a day for up to 12 weeks. Excess Acid Conditions (such as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome) The usual starting dose is 20 milligrams every 6 hours, although some people need a higher dose. Doses of up to 160 milligrams every 6 hours have been given in severe cases. If your kidneys are not functioning properly, your doctor will adjust the dosage. CHILDREN: Pepcid can be given to children 1 to 16 years old. Dose adjustments are necessary if the child has kidney problems. Safety and effectiveness have not been established in infants of less than 1 year. Peptic Ulcer The usual daily dose is 0.5 milligram per 2.2 pounds of body weight. The entire dose may be given at bedtime, or divided and given in 2 smaller doses. Do not give more than 40 milligrams per day. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) The usual daily dose is 1 milligram per 2.2 pounds of body weight, divided and given in 2 smaller doses. Do not exceed 40 milligrams daily. PEPCID AC: Pepcid AC should not be given to children under age 12. Take no more than 2 tablets per day. Relief Swallow 1 tablet with water. Prevention Take 1 tablet 1 hour before a meal that could cause symptoms.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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