Pepcid is a medication that reduces the amount of acid the stomach produces. Taking Pepcid may increase the body’s absorption of alcohol, but there are no known interactions between the substances.

Pepcid, which contains the active ingredient famotidine, is a common treatment for heartburn, indigestion, gastric ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

The main risk of consuming Pepcid and alcohol together is that famotidine can increase the body’s absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Therefore, if someone takes Pepcid and drinks alcohol, they may feel the effects of the alcohol more quickly or intensely.

With this in mind, people may want to avoid drinking or limit their alcohol intake while taking Pepcid.

Read on to learn more about Pepcid and alcohol, the risks, and what to avoid when consuming alcohol.

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Yes, it is safe to take Pepcid with alcohol. Research on famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, does not consider alcohol a contraindication. A contraindication refers to an instance or situation where someone should not receive a particular treatment.

Alcohol can trigger heartburn and other symptoms of GERD. In GERD, the stomach contents flow back into the esophagus, which is the food pipe, causing an unpleasant burning sensation in the chest or throat. People may then take Pepcid to relieve their symptoms.

There is no evidence that drinking alcohol while taking famotidine causes adverse effects. However, it may increase alcohol absorption, which could lead to heightened levels of intoxication. For this reason, people may consider avoiding or limiting their alcohol intake while taking Pepcid.

Additionally, if someone with GERD drinks alcohol, their symptoms may worsen.

People need to consider avoiding alcohol altogether if they have stomach ulcers or other serious stomach problems. Alcohol can increase the risk of bleeding and worsen their condition.

People who use over-the-counter (OTC) famotidine, such as Pepcid, should notify a doctor if they experience certain side effects. These include:

  • chest pain
  • wheezing
  • unexplained weight loss
  • stomach pain
  • heartburn with lightheadedness
  • sweating
  • dizziness

Additionally, if a person is taking Pepcid continually and their heartburn continues or worsens, they should stop taking it and contact a doctor.

Some people experience a flushed reaction when they drink alcohol. It causes facial redness, itching, burning, and a warm feeling on the face. In some cases, it can also trigger hives, nausea, low blood pressure, or migraine.

Alcohol flush occurs due to inherited variations in genes of certain enzymes, including aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), that metabolize alcohol. People with these genetic anomalies metabolize alcohol less efficiently.

Individuals who experience alcohol flush may take Pepcid or another H2 blocker before drinking to help prevent their symptoms. There is little scientific evidence to support this claim, but some individuals report it is effective.

Others claim that it only provides limited relief or none at all. Regardless, most of these claims are anecdotal, and there is little research on the topic.

Various medications and substances can react with alcohol. If people are taking these, they should avoid consuming alcohol.

One such medication is metoclopramide (Reglan), a gut motility stimulator. Doctors commonly recommend these to treat heartburn and help heal ulcers and sores in the esophagus of someone with GERD. It also helps relieve symptoms relating to slow stomach emptying in people with diabetes.

People should not drink alcohol while taking metoclopramide. It can increase alcohol’s effects on the central nervous system (CNS).

Alcohol depresses the CNS, leading to drowsiness, weakness, and impaired mental status. When a person combines it with metoclopramide, it may intensify these effects.

Other drugs that interact with alcohol include:

  • Antibiotics: Examples include metronidazole (Flagyl) and tinidazole (Tindamax).
  • Anti-anxiety medications: Examples include benzodiazepines such as Xanax (alprazolam) or Ativan (lorazepam).
  • Blood thinners: One example is warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Pain medications: One example is acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Sleeping pills: Examples include Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), and Restoril (temazepam).
  • Muscle relaxants: Examples include Robaxin (methocarbamol) and Zanaflex (tizanidine).
  • Blood pressure and heart disease medications: Medications include beta-blockers and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors.

Most people experience occasional heartburn, but it is not usually a cause for concern.

However, frequent or severe heartburn could indicate a more serious condition, such as GERD. Because GERD can lead to esophageal ulcers and cancer, anyone with ongoing acid reflux symptoms should consult a doctor.

Pepcid is an OTC medication that people use to relieve heartburn. It is generally safe to take Pepcid with alcohol. However, the medication can increase the blood’s absorption of alcohol, so it may magnify the effects.

For this reason, people may wish to avoid drinking or limit their alcohol intake while taking Pepcid.

Anyone who experiences frequent, long-term, or severe heartburn should speak with a doctor. Heartburn can be a symptom of GERD, a condition that can lead to other serious health issues.