"July 6, 2015 -- About 21 million Americans have used prescription heartburn medications called proton pump inhibitors to help ease pain and discomfort after they eat. But does that help come at a price?
A recent study found that the drugs, "...
Symptomatic response to therapy with PEPCID does not preclude the presence of gastric malignancy.
Patients With Moderate Or Severe Renal Insufficiency
Since CNS adverse effects have been reported in patients with moderate and severe renal insufficiency, longer intervals between doses or lower doses may need to be used in patients with moderate (creatinine clearance < 50 mL/min) or severe (creatinine clearance < 10 mL/min) renal insufficiency to adjust for the longer elimination half-life of famotidine (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY in adults and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Prolonged QT interval has been reported very rarely in patients with impaired renal function whose dose/dosing interval of famotidine may not have been adjusted appropriately.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
In a 106-week study in rats and a 92-week study in mice given oral doses of up to 2000 mg/kg/day (approximately 2500 times the recommended human dose for active duodenal ulcer), there was no evidence of carcinogenic potential for PEPCID.
Famotidine was negative in the microbial mutagen test (Ames test) using Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli with or without rat liver enzyme activation at concentrations up to 10,000 mcg/plate. In in vivo studies in mice, with a micronucleus test and a chromosomal aberration test, no evidence of a mutagenic effect was observed.
In studies with rats given oral doses of up to 2000 mg/kg/day or intravenous doses of up to 200 mg/kg/day, fertility and reproductive performance were not affected.
Pregnancy Category B
Reproductive studies have been performed in rats and rabbits at oral doses of up to 2000 and 500 mg/kg/day, respectively, and in both species at I.V. doses of up to 200 mg/kg/day, and have revealed no significant evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to PEPCID. While no direct fetotoxic effects have been observed, sporadic abortions occurring only in mothers displaying marked decreased food intake were seen in some rabbits at oral doses of 200 mg/kg/day (250 times the usual human dose) or higher. There are, however, no adequate or well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproductive studies are not always predictive of human response, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Studies performed in lactating rats have shown that famotidine is secreted into breast milk. Transient growth depression was observed in young rats suckling from mothers treated with maternotoxic doses of at least 600 times the usual human dose. Famotidine is detectable in human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from PEPCID, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Pediatric Patients < 1 Year Of Age
Use of PEPCID in pediatric patients < 1 year of age is supported by evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies of PEPCID in adults, and by the following studies in pediatric patients < 1 year of age.
Two pharmacokinetic studies in pediatric patients < 1 year of age (N=48) demonstrated that clearance of famotidine in patients > 3 months to 1 year of age is similar to that seen in older pediatric patients (1-15 years of age) and adults. In contrast, pediatric patients 0-3 months of age had famotidine clearance values that were 2- to 4-fold less than those in older pediatric patients and adults. These studies also show that the mean bioavailability in pediatric patients < 1 year of age after oral dosing is similar to older pediatric patients and adults. Pharmacodynamic data in pediatric patients 0-3 months of age suggest that the duration of acid suppression is longer compared with older pediatric patients, consistent with the longer famotidine half-life in pediatric patients 0-3 months of age. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY In Pediatric Patients, Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics.)
In a double-blind, randomized, treatment-withdrawal study, 35 pediatric patients < 1 year of age who were diagnosed as having gastroesophageal reflux disease were treated for up to 4 weeks with famotidine oral suspension (0.5 mg/kg/dose or 1 mg/kg/dose). Although an intravenous famotidine formulation was available, no patients were treated with intravenous famotidine in this study. Also, caregivers were instructed to provide conservative treatment including thickened feedings. Enrolled patients were diagnosed primarily by history of vomiting (spitting up) and irritability (fussiness). The famotidine dosing regimen was once daily for patients < 3 months of age and twice daily for patients ≥ 3 months of age. After 4 weeks of treatment, patients were randomly withdrawn from the treatment and followed an additional 4 weeks for adverse events and symptomatology. Patients were evaluated for vomiting (spitting up), irritability (fussiness) and global assessments of improvement. The study patients ranged in age at entry from 1.3 to 10.5 months (mean 5.6 ± 2.9 months), 57% were female, 91% were white and 6% were black. Most patients (27/35) continued into the treatment-withdrawal phase of the study. Two patients discontinued famotidine due to adverse events. Most patients improved during the initial treatment phase of the study. Results of the treatment-withdrawal phase were difficult to interpret because of small numbers of patients. Of the 35 patients enrolled in the study, agitation was observed in 5 patients on famotidine that resolved when the medication was discontinued; agitation was not observed in patients on placebo (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Pediatric Patients).
These studies suggest that a starting dose of 0.5 mg/kg/dose of famotidine oral suspension may be of benefit for the treatment of GERD for up to 4 weeks once daily in patients < 3 months of age and twice daily in patients 3 months to < 1 year of age; the safety and benefit of famotidine treatment beyond 4 weeks have not been established. Famotidine should be considered for the treatment of GERD only if conservative measures (e.g., thickened feedings) are used concurrently and if the potential benefit outweighs the risk.
Pediatric Patients 1-16 years Of Age
Use of PEPCID in pediatric patients 1-16 years of age is supported by evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies of PEPCID in adults, and by the following studies in pediatric patients: In published studies in small numbers of pediatric patients 1-15 years of age, clearance of famotidine was similar to that seen in adults. In pediatric patients 11-15 years of age, oral doses of 0.5 mg/kg were associated with a mean area under the curve (AUC) similar to that seen in adults treated orally with 40 mg. Similarly, in pediatric patients 1-15 years of age, intravenous doses of 0.5 mg/kg were associated with a mean AUC similar to that seen in adults treated intravenously with 40 mg. Limited published studies also suggest that the relationship between serum concentration and acid suppression is similar in pediatric patients 1-15 years of age as compared with adults. These studies suggest a starting dose for pediatric patients 1-16 years of age as follows:
Peptic Ulcer - 0.5 mg/kg/day p.o. At Bedtime Or Divided b.i.d. Up To 40 mg/day.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease with or without esophagitis including erosions and ulcerations - 1.0 mg/kg/day p.o. divided b.i.d. up to 40 mg b.i.d.
While published uncontrolled studies suggest effectiveness of famotidine in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcer, data in pediatric patients are insufficient to establish percent response with dose and duration of therapy. Therefore, treatment duration (initially based on adult duration recommendations) and dose should be individualized based on clinical response and/or pH determination (gastric or esophageal) and endoscopy. Published uncontrolled clinical studies in pediatric patients have employed doses up to 1 mg/kg/day for peptic ulcer and 2 mg/kg/day for GERD with or without esophagitis including erosions and ulcerations.
Of the 4,966 subjects in clinical studies who were treated with famotidine, 488 subjects (9.8%) were 65 and older, and 88 subjects (1.7%) were greater than 75 years of age. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects. However, greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
No dosage adjustment is required based on age (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY in adults, Pharmacokinetics). This drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function. Dosage adjustment in the case of moderate or severe renal impairment is necessary (see PRECAUTIONS, Patients with Moderate or Severe Renal Insufficiency and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Dosage Adjustment for Patients with Moderate or Severe Renal Insufficiency).This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/18/2014
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