This sheet is 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. Some brand names are Pepcid®, Pepcid AC®, and Heartburn Relief®.
Sometimes when people find out they are pregnant, they think about changing how they take their medication, or stopping their medication altogether. However, it is important to talk with your healthcare providers before making any changes to how you take this medication. Your healthcare providers can talk with you about the benefits of treating your condition and the risks of untreated illness during pregnancy.
I take famotidine. Can it make it harder for me to get pregnant?
Studies have not been done to see if taking famotidine could make it harder to become pregnant.
Does taking famotidine during my pregnancy increase the chance for miscarriage?
Miscarriage is common and can occur in any pregnancy for many different reasons. It is not known if famotidine could increase the chance for miscarriage.
Does taking famotidine increase the chance for birth defects?
Every pregnancy starts out with a 3-5% chance of having a birth defect. This is called the background risk. Available studies do not show an increased chance of birth defects when famotidine is taken during pregnancy.
Does taking famotidine increase the chance of other pregnancy complications?
It is not known if taking famotidine during pregnancy increases the chance of pregnancy complications. However, studies on the overall class of medications called H2 receptor blockers did not find pregnancy-related problems, such as preterm delivery (birth before week 37) or low birth weight (weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces [2500 grams] at birth).
Does taking famotidine during pregnancy affect future behavior or learning for the child?
It is not known if taking famotidine during pregnancy affects children’s long-term development. One study looked at famotidine use in pregnancy and did not find an increased chance of asthma when the children were 2 years old.
Breastfeeding while taking famotidine:
Famotidine gets into breast milk in small amounts and is used in newborn infants in higher dosages than the levels that have been found in breastmilk. Taking famotidine while breastfeeding is not expected to cause problems in breastfed infants. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about all of your breastfeeding questions.
If a male takes famotidine, could it affect fertility (ability to get partner pregnant) or increase the chance of birth defects?
One study reported that taking famotidine did not affect hormones in males; this makes it less likely that famotidine could affect fertility. In general, exposures that fathers or sperm donors have are unlikely to increase the risks to a pregnancy. For more information, please see the MotherToBaby fact sheet Paternal Exposures at https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/paternal-exposures-pregnancy/.
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OTIS/MotherToBaby encourages inclusive and person-centered language. While our name still contains a reference to mothers, we are updating our resources with more inclusive terms. Use of the term mother or maternal refers to a person who is pregnant. Use of the term father or paternal refers to a person who contributes sperm.