This sheet talks about exposure to famotidine in a pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your healthcare provider.

What is famotidine?

Famotidine is a medication used to treat acid reflux, sometimes called heartburn or peptic ulcer disease. Famotidine reduces the amount of stomach acid that your body makes. It is a long-acting histamine (H2) receptor blocker and is sold under the brand names Pepcid®, Pepcid AC®, and Heartburn Relief®.

I just found out I am pregnant. Should I stop taking famotidine?

Talk with your healthcare providers before making any changes to this medication. It is important to consider the potential benefits of taking famotidine during pregnancy.

I take famotidine. Can it make it harder for me to get pregnant?

Famotidine has not been studied to see if taking it could make it more difficult for a woman to become pregnant.

Does taking famotidine during my pregnancy increase the chance of miscarriage? 

Miscarriage can occur in any pregnancy. Studies have not been done to see if famotidine could make it harder for a woman to get pregnant.

Does taking famotidine increase the chance of having a baby with a birth defect?

In every pregnancy, a woman starts out with a 3-5% chance of having a baby with a birth defect. This is called her background risk. Available studies do not show an increased chance of birth defects or other pregnancy problems when women take famotidine during pregnancy.   
Could taking famotidine in the second or third trimester cause other pregnancy complications?

There are no studies looking at whether taking famotidine during pregnancy increases the chance of pregnancy complications.

Will taking famotidine during pregnancy affect my baby’s behavior or cause learning problems?

There are no studies that have looked at whether taking famotidine during pregnancy affects children’s long-term development.

Can I breastfeed my baby if I am taking famotidine?

Famotidine is found in the breast milk in small amounts and is used in newborn infants in higher dosages than are in breastmilk. No problems have been reported in infants whose mothers were breastfeeding while taking this medication. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about all your breastfeeding questions.

What if the baby’s father takes famotidine?

There are no studies looking at possible risks to a pregnancy when a father takes famotidine. In general, exposures that fathers have are unlikely to increase risks to a pregnancy. For more information, please see the MotherToBaby fact sheet Paternal Exposures and Pregnancy at https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/paternal-exposures-pregnancy/pdf/.

Selected References:

  • Garbis H, et al. 2005. Pregnancy outcome after exposure to ranitidine and other H2-blockers. A collaborative study of the European Network of Teratology Information Services. Reprod Toxicol 19:453-8.
  • Hagemann, T. M. 1998. Gastrointestinal Medications and Breastfeeding. Journal of Human Lactation, 14(3), 259–262.
  • Kallen B. 1998. Delivery outcome after the use of acid-suppressing drugs in early pregnancy with special reference to omeprazole. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 105:877-881.
  • Magee LA, et al.1996. Safety of first trimester exposure to histamine H2 blockers. A prospective cohort study. Dig Dis Sci 41(6):1145-1149.
  • Orenstein SR, Shalaby TM, Devandry SN et al. 2003. Famotidine for infant gastro-oesophageal reflux: A multi-centre, randomized, placebo-controlled, withdrawal trial. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 7(9):1097-107.
  • Savarino V, et al. 1988. Famotidine has no significant effect on gonadal function in man. Gastroenterol Clin Biol 12:19-22.
  • Wang X, et al. 2011. Pharmacokinetics of famotidine in pregnant women. Am J Obstet Gynecol.; 204:S72-3.