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By Cindy Diep, The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy

Curist delivers medicines to your door at a fraction of the price of traditional brands. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this time.

If you have ever come across famotidine and esomeprazole in the over-the-counter aisles and wondered about their differences, Curist is here to offer you insights about these two medications!

Are Famotidine and Esomeprazole the Same Thing? How are Esomeprazole and Famotidine Similar?

Famotidine and Esomeprazole are not the same thing! However, both medications are indicated to treat conditions related to excessive stomach acid production, including heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Both famotidine and esomeprazole work by reducing the production of stomach acid and help to alleviate symptoms associated with acid-related conditions. The maximum length of therapy for OTC famotidine and esomeprazole should not exceed two weeks without a doctor’s supervision.

What are the Differences Between Famotidine vs Esomeprazole?

Famotidine and esomeprazole belong to different classes of medications and have different mechanisms of action. Famotidine is a Histamine H2-receptor antagonist that works by interfering with the histamine receptors in the stomach to reduce the amount of acid produced. Esomeprazole is a proton-pump inhibitor that works by blocking the proton pump in the stomach and stopping acid production at its source. 

In addition, famotidine is available over the counter to treat or prevent mild or infrequent heartburn and dyspepsia. It is better for controlling nighttime symptoms rather than symptoms related to meal-stimulated secretion. It usually works within one hour of taking the medication and the duration of action depends on the dose, and is typically around 8 to 10 hours. In contrast, esomeprazole is available over the counter for short-term treatment of frequent heartburn. It is not used for immediate relief (it takes 1 to 4 days for symptomatic relief), but does have a stronger and longer duration of action than famotidine. It is recommended to use esomeprazole with caution in older adults as there are studies that show a correlation between chronic proton-pump inhibitor use and certain disorders.

Can I Switch from Famotidine to Esomeprazole? Can I Switch from Esomeprazole to Famotidine?

Yes, it is possible to switch from famotidine to esomeprazole, or to switch from esomeprazole to famotidine. If you are unresponsive to famotidine or have frequent heartburn, you can switch to esomeprazole to see if it works better for symptomatic relief. You can also switch from esomeprazole to famotidine if you do not have frequent heartburn anymore. However, it is recommended to switch medications only with the guidance of a healthcare professional who can assess your condition and medication needs and ensure that switching medications is the right decision for you.

Can I Take Famotidine and Esomeprazole Together? Is it OK to Take Esomeprazole in the Morning and Famotidine at Night?

Taking famotidine and esomeprazole together is generally not recommended because both medications reduce stomach acid production in your body. Taking both together may lead to side effects associated with excessive acid suppression. Taking esomeprazole in the morning and famotidine at night may be acceptable, but there is limited scientific evidence supporting this strategy. Consult with your doctor to determine if this approach is suitable for your current situation.

Which is Best for Heartburn or Acid Reflux: Famotidine or Esomeprazole?

The decision of which is best for heartburn or acid reflux between famotidine and esomeprazole depends on several factors, such as symptom severity, underlying health conditions, and individual response to these medications. For mild heartburn and nighttime symptoms, famotidine may be better than esomeprazole to offer immediate relief. For more frequent and severe heartburn, esomeprazole may be more effective than famotidine. Speak to a healthcare professional to see which is the best medication for your heartburn. 

Which is Best for Long-Term Use: Famotidine or Esomeprazole?

Over-the-counter famotidine and esomeprazole should not be used long term. The maximum length of therapy without guidance of a doctor is 14 days. It is important to consult a doctor to identify the most suitable medication for extended use. Monitoring is crucial as prolonged use of these medications can increase the risk of side effects and cause other complications.

Which is Best for Ulcers: Famotidine or Esomeprazole?

Between famotidine and esomeprazole, esomeprazole is best for ulcers. Peptic ulcer disease is an approved indication for both famotidine and omeprazole when used with a doctor’s prescription, but current medical guidelines advocate for proton-pump inhibitors, like esomeprazole, as the preferred treatment for ulcers. It is advisable to seek advice from a healthcare professional for recommendations on the most suitable treatment approach.

Is Famotidine Safer than Esomeprazole? 

Both famotidine and esomeprazole are considered safe when used as directed. It is possible to get famotidine-induced acute interstitial nephritis, which is a drug-induced kidney injury that often presents as an unexplained rise in your serum creatinine level. However, famotidine can be considered safer than esomeprazole, as esomeprazole has been associated with an increased risk of a number of adverse effects. Proton-pump inhibitors, such as esomeprazole, should be used with caution, especially in older adults. It's essential to use either medication under the guidance of a healthcare professional and to report any unusual or concerning symptoms.

Where Can I Buy Famotidine and Esomeprazole Online?

The over-the-counter versions of esomeprazole and famotidine are available in local pharmacies as well as stores online like Curist, and do not need a prescription.

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This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.