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Therapeutic ClassHistamine H2 Receptor Antagonist
Dogs, Cats and Horses
May Be Prescribed by Vets for:
Treatment of ulcers, nausea, vomiting and esophagitis
FDA StatusFamotidine is commercially available as a tablet,
10mg, 20mg, and 40mg, IV, and oral solution 10mg/ml.
Search for Available Dosage Forms
Famotidine is a histamine H2 receptor antagonist that is used to decrease the production of gastric acid within the gastrointestinal tract. In human medicine, this drug is sold under the trade name of Pepcid. Other drugs in this family include cimetidine and ranitidine. These drugs prevent the stomach from producing acid by competitively inhibiting the binding of histamine at the receptor on the parietal cells of the stomach. Studies in human patients show healing of gastric ulcers in patients given either oral ranitidine or oral famotidine.
Famotidine may be administered intravenously, intramuscularly, or orally. Histamine H2 receptor antagonist drugs are metabolized in the liver and excreted in the urine. Unlike cimetidine, famotidine does not significantly inhibit the hepatic P450 enzyme system. It is considered very safe and is the least likely of the histamine H2 receptor antagonist drugs to be involved in drug interactions. Famotidine does not have the prokinetic properties of ranitidine. Relative potencies are: famotidine > ranitidine > cimetidine.
Famotidine is used in dogs and cats to treat or prevent ulcers of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and esophagus. Possible causes of GI ulceration include renal failure, drugs, and stress. The primary value of the H2 receptor antagonists is in treating existing ulcers and erosions. They can be helpful in preventing some types of ulcers, but they are less effective for preventing ulcers due to NSAIDs or corticosteroids.
Famotidine is used in horses to treat and prevent the recurrence of gastric ulcers. Omeprazole is the more-commonly used drug for equine gastric ulcer disease (EGUD), but some clinicians feel that there is also a role for the histamine H2 receptor antagonists.
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
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