Research suggests mixing famotidine with alcohol is unlikely to cause adverse effects, but people should still consult a doctor before doing so.
Famotidine is an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment for heartburn. Doctors may also prescribe it to treat ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and any condition where the stomach produces an excess of acid.
Prescription famotidine comes as a tablet or liquid. OTC famotidine is available in the following forms:
- chewable tablet
This article examines the interaction between famotidine and alcohol. It discusses its safety, side effects, and whether people can mix other heartburn medications with alcohol.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have guidance on mixing famotidine and alcohol.
Very little information is available on whether it is safe to mix famotidine and alcohol. Research indicates that taking famotidine and alcohol together does not appear harmful. However, it may slightly raise a person’s blood alcohol level.
The blood alcohol level is the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood. The higher the person’s blood alcohol level, the more significant the effects.
If a person’s blood alcohol content exceeds 0.40%, they may be at risk of serious complications from alcohol poisoning, including coma. It can also be fatal.
Possible side effects of mixing alcohol with medications include:
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of coordination
Alcohol may also intensify the side effects of certain medications.
Famotidine without alcohol may have side effects such as:
If a person experiences the following while taking famotidine, they should contact a doctor immediately:
- swelling in the:
- difficulty with breathing or swallowing
When some people drink, they experience a flush reaction, developing a red face from alcohol. An alcohol flush reaction may
- low blood pressure
- worsening of asthma
Some say that famotidine can help prevent these flushes when drinking alcohol. However, there is little scientific evidence to reflect this.
A 2019 study looked into college students’ understanding of alcohol-related flushing. The researchers found that 6% of students used methods to try to stop this flushing. However, the study does not specify the methods.
Famotidine reduces the acid present in the stomach.
It belongs to a group of drugs called histamine-2 (H-2) receptor blockers. These drugs work by blocking the H-2 receptors in a person’s stomach. These receptors contribute to the release of acid.
With these receptors repressed, they cannot release as much acid, reducing the amount present in the stomach.
According to the FDA, famotidine can negatively interact with the following drugs.
Drugs dependent on gastric PH for absorption
These drugs need to react with the acidity in the stomach to work. Famotidine reduces this acidity, making these drugs ineffective as absorption cannot occur. Examples include:
- delavirdine mesylate
This medication is a muscle relaxant to treat spasms, and doctors often recommend it for treating multiple sclerosis, stroke, and brain or spinal injuries. Taking tizanidine and famotidine together may lead to the following:
- low blood pressure
- extreme drowsiness
- slow heart rate
Individuals may alternatively take antacids for heartburn relief, which work by neutralizing the acid in the stomach. Examples of brands containing antacids include:
People can drink alcohol while taking antacids. However, alcohol may worsen symptoms and irritate the stomach.
Another type of OTC heartburn medication is proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These are most suitable for individuals with frequent heartburn, as it may take a few days to feel the effects.
Examples of brands containing PPIs include:
- Prevacid 24HR
- Nexium 24HR
- Prilosec OTC
- Zegerid OTC
There is minimal research to suggest whether alcohol negatively reacts with PPIs. However, alcohol may make the drug less effective.
No scientific evidence suggests that famotidine can reduce an alcohol flush reaction.
Individuals could try preventing an alcohol flush reaction by:
- choosing drinks with a low alcohol level
- drinking water between drinks containing alcohol
- limiting alcohol intake
A person can also discuss the issue with a doctor.
Famotidine is available to purchase OTC for the treatment of heartburn. It is also a prescription drug for ulcers, GERD, and stomach acid reduction.
There is no information to suggest that mixing famotidine with alcohol is unsafe. However, mixing alcohol with any medication may carry risks.
Some people claim that famotidine can help reduce an alcohol flush reaction. However, the NIAAA states that this does not work and may cause an increased risk for other health conditions.
A person should discuss alcohol flush reaction with a doctor if they experience it rather than taking OTC medications.