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Famotidine (Pepcid) and ranitidine (Zantac) are both H2 blockers. However, while they are in the same class of drugs, there may be certain instances where one drug is preferable to the other.

Famotidine Uses

Famotidine is used to treat and prevent stomach and intestinal ulcers, to manage heartburn, GERD, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Famotidine Side Effects

Common side effects may include:

  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Fatigue, dizziness and weakness
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia 
  • Muscle pain and joint pain
  • Dry mouth, nausea or vomiting

Ranitidine Uses

Ranitidine (Zantac) is used to treat and prevent intestinal and stomach ulcers, heartburn, erosive esophagitis (inflamed throat), and Zollinger Ellison syndrome.

Ranitidine Side Effects

Common side effects may include:

  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Fatigue, drowsiness and dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive, impotence, and difficulty having an orgasm
  • Muscle pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen or tender breasts in cisgender men

Famotidine vs Ranitidine

Similarities

  • they are both H2 blocker used to treat and prevent intestinal and stomach ulcers, heartburn, erosive esophagitis, and Zollinger Ellison syndrome
  • they are both available over the counter and in a generic form

Differences

  • Famotidine and ranitidine may have different side effects
  • Ranitidine may break down into cancer-causing substances, which has not been observed to happen with famotidine

FAQ

Is Pepcid better than Zantac?

Pepcid may have less side effects, or at least less severe side effects, than Zantac.

Can I take ranitidine and famotidine together?

Generally, famotidine and ranitidine are not taken together as they have the same effect on the body. In fact, taking the two medicines together may increase the risk for side effects.

What can I take instead of ranitidine?

Ask your doctor what is the best drug for you.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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