Famotidine, also called Pepcid, is an H2 receptor blocker that reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach, according to MedlinePlus. Famotidine treats ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease and certain medical problems that cause increased stomach acid production. It also prevents and treats heartburn related to indigestion or sour stomach.
Famotidine is available with or without a prescription. Prescription famotidine comes in tablet and liquid form and is usually taken one to four times daily, notes MedlinePlus. Over-the-counter famotidine is available as a tablet, chewable tablet or capsule, and it is generally taken one or two times daily. When used to prevent heartburn, it is best to take famotidine 15 to 60 minutes before eating. If symptoms persist after taking over-the-counter famotidine for two weeks, patients are advised to stop the medication and contact their doctor.
Potential side effects of famotidine include headache, dizziness, constipation and diarrhea, explains MedlinePlus. Babies who take famotidine may experience increased fussiness. Reporting these side effects to a doctor is recommended if the side effects are severe or persistent. Although uncommon, serious side effects may occur while taking famotidine, including rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing and swelling of the face, throat, hands or feet. It is important to immediately report serious side effects to a doctor.