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Famotidine (Pepcid®)

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Overview

  • Stomach ulcers and erosions are relatively common complications of kidney failure, bloat (of the stomach), treatment with steroids, administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and primary diseases of the stomach. Frequently, drug therapy is necessary to heal ulcers and prevent further problems.
  • Famotidine is an anti-ulcer drug of the histamine receptor-2 (H-2) blocker class. Stimulation of H-2 receptors (targets) located on the cell membranes of stomach cells leads to secretion of gastric acid. By blocking these targets, stomach acid will not be secreted, allowing the ulcer time to heal.
  • Famotidine and other H-2 blockers are useful in the treatment and prevention of gastric (stomach) and intestinal ulcers drugs because they prevent activation of this cell receptor. Other drugs with similar actions include ranitidine (Zantac®), nizatidine (Axid®) and cimetidine (Tagamet®).
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.
  • Famotidine is available over the counter but should not be administered unless under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Pepcid® (Merck) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Famotidine

  • Famotidine is used in the treatment and prevention of stomach (gastric) and intestinal ulcers.
  • Famotidine promotes ulcer healing in animals with ulcers or erosions (shallow depressions in the stomach lining).
  • Famotidine may be useful in the treatment of stomach inflammation caused by kidney failure.
  • Another use is management of [[rol||acid reflux disease|A condition similar to "heartburn" in people and caused by movement of stomach acid into the lower part of the esophagus (food tube).]] to reduce injury to the esophagus (food tube).
  • Dogs and cats with mast cell tumors may be treated with famotidine or a related drug because these tumors can produce large amounts of histamine.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, famotidine can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Famotidine should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Famotidine should be used with caution in animals with kidney or liver disease.
  • Famotidine may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with famotidine. Such drugs include digoxin and ketoconazole.

    How Famotidine is Supplied

  • Famotidine is supplied in 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg tablets.
  • Famotidine oral powder for suspension is supplied at 50 mg/5 ml.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The typical dose administered is 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound (0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg) every 12 to 24 hours.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.




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