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Pepcid is an "H2 blocker" that works by blocking a specific kind of histamine receptor. Histamine is a chemical released by that body that has several effects. In the stomach, histamine causes more acid to be produced. By blocking histamine in the stomach, Pepcid reduces the amount of acid produced. This is why the drug is known as an "acid reducer."
Several studies have been conducted on how well the drug treats several conditions, including:
- GERD and esophagitis
- Pathological hypersecretory conditions.
In one study of Pepcid for the treatment of duodenal ulcers (upper intestinal ulcers), ulcers were healed in 70 percent of people who took Pepcid 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 it can prevent duodenal ulcers from returning.
In studies looking at the use of Pepcid to treat gastric ulcers (stomach ulcers), 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 Pepcid.
GERD and Esophagitis
Studies have also looked at using the drug for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In these studies, up to 82 percent of people taking it had moderate or excellent improvement in their GERD symptoms, compared to 62 percent in people not taking it. In these studies, Pepcid also helped to heal esophagitis (damage to the esophagus) due to GERD.
Pathological Hypersecretory Conditions
The drug has been studied in people with a number of pathological hypersecretory conditions (which occur when too much stomach acid is produced), such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. These studies showed that it is effective at decreasing stomach acid production and relieving symptoms.