GERD Home > Clinical Trials on Famotidine and How the Drug Works

How Does It Work?

Famotidine is an H2 blocker that works by blocking a specific kind of histamine receptor. Histamine is a chemical released by the body that has several effects. In the stomach, histamine causes more acid to be produced. By blocking histamine in the stomach, famotidine reduces the amount of acid produced. This is why the medication is known as an "acid reducer."

Effects of Famotidine

Previous studies have examined the effectiveness of famotidine for the treatment of several conditions, including:
  • Ulcers
  • GERD and esophagitis
  • Pathological hypersecretory conditions.
In one study of famotidine for duodenal ulcers (upper intestinal ulcers), ulcers were healed in 70 percent of people who took the drug after four weeks of treatment. Only 31 percent of people who were not taking it had their duodenal ulcer heal within four weeks. Studies have also shown that the medication can prevent duodenal ulcers from returning.
In studies looking at the use of famotidine for gastric ulcer (stomach ulcer) treatment, up to 80 percent of people taking it experienced healing of stomach ulcers within eight weeks. Ulcers healed in 54 percent of people who were not on the medication.
GERD and Esophagitis
Studies have looked at using famotidine for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In these studies, up to 82 percent had moderate or excellent improvement in their GERD symptoms, compared to 62 percent of people not taking the drug. In these studies, it also helped to heal esophagitis (damage to the esophagus) due to GERD.
Pathological Hypersecretory Conditions
Famotidine has been studied in people with a number of pathological hypersecretory conditions, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which occur when too much stomach acid is produced). These studies showed that the medication is effective at decreasing stomach acid production and relieving symptoms.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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