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).
The adverse reactions listed below have been reported during domestic and international clinical trials in approximately 2500 patients. In those controlled clinical trials in which famotidine tablets were compared to placebo, the incidence of adverse experiences in the group which received famotidine tablets, 40 mg at bedtime, was similar to that in the placebo group.
The following adverse reactions have been reported to occur in more than 1% of patients on therapy with famotidine in controlled clinical trials, and may be causally related to the drug: headache (4.7%), dizziness (1.3%), constipation (1.2%) and diarrhea (1.7%).
The following other adverse reactions have been reported infrequently in clinical trials or since the drug was marketed. The relationship to therapy with famotidine has been unclear in many cases. Within each category the adverse reactions are listed in order of decreasing severity:
Body as a Whole: fever, asthenia, fatigue
Cardiovascular: arrhythmia, AV block, palpitation. Prolonged QT interval, in patients with impaired renal function, has been reported very rarely.
Gastrointestinal: cholestatic jaundice, hepatitis, liver enzyme abnormalities, vomiting, nausea, abdominal discomfort, anorexia, dry mouth
Hematologic: rare cases of agranulocytosis, pancytopenia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia
Hypersensitivity: anaphylaxis, angioedema, orbital or facial edema, urticaria, rash, conjunctival injection
Musculoskeletal: musculoskeletal pain including muscle cramps, arthralgia
Nervous System/Psychiatric: grand mal seizure; psychic disturbances, which were reversible in cases for which follow-up was obtained, including hallucinations, confusion, agitation, depression, anxiety, decreased libido; paresthesia; insomnia; somnolence. Convulsions, in patients with impaired renal function, have been reported very rarely.
Respiratory: bronchospasm, interstitial pneumonia
Skin: toxic epidermal necrolysis/Stevens-Johnson syndrome (very rare), alopecia, acne, pruritus, dry skin, flushing
Special Senses: tinnitus, taste disorder
Other: rare cases of impotence and rare cases of gynecomastia have been reported; however, in controlled clinical trials, the incidences were not greater than those seen with placebo.
In a clinical study in 35 pediatric patients <1 year of age with GERD symptoms [e.g., vomiting (spitting up), irritability (fussing)], agitation was observed in 5 patients on famotidine that resolved when the medication was discontinued.
The adverse reactions in overdose cases are similar to the adverse reactions encountered in normal clinical experience (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Oral doses of up to 640 mg/day have been given to adult patients with pathological hypersecretory conditions with no serious adverse effects. In the event of overdosage, treatment should be symptomatic and supportive. Unabsorbed material should be removed from the gastrointestinal tract, the patient should be monitored, and supportive therapy should be employed.
The oral LD50 of famotidine in male and female rats and mice was greater than 3000 mg/kg and the minimum lethal acute oral dose in dogs exceeded 2000 mg/kg. Famotidine did not produce overt effects at high oral doses in mice, rats, cats and dogs, but induced significant anorexia and growth depression in rabbits starting with 200 mg/kg/day orally. The intravenous LD50 of famotidine for mice and rats ranged from 254-563 mg/kg and the minimum lethal single I.V. dose in dogs was approximately 300 mg/kg. Signs of acute intoxication in I.V. treated dogs were emesis, restlessness, pallor of mucous membranes or redness of mouth and ears, hypotension, tachycardia and collapse.
Acute Therapy: The recommended adult oral dosage for active duodenal ulcer is 40 mg once a day at bedtime. Most patients heal within 4 weeks; there is rarely reason to use famotidine at full dosage for longer than 6 to 8 weeks. A regimen of 20 mg b.i.d. is also effective.
Maintenance Therapy: The recommended adult oral dose is 20 mg once a day at bedtime.
Acute Therapy: The recommended adult oral dosage for active benign gastric ulcer is 40 mg once a day at bedtime.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
The recommended oral dosage for treatment of adult patients with symptoms of GERD is 20 mg b.i.d. for up to 6 weeks. The recommended oral dosage for the treatment of adult patients with esophagitis including erosions and ulcerations and accompanying symptoms due to GERD is 20 or 40 mg b.i.d. for up to 12 weeks (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY IN ADULTS, Clinical Studies).
The studies described in PRECAUTIONS , Pediatric Patients <1 year of age suggest the following starting doses in pediatric patients <1 year of age: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) — 0.5 mg/kg/dose of famotidine oral suspension for the treatment of GERD for up to 8 weeks once daily in patients <3 months of age and 0.5 mg/kg/dose twice daily in patients 3 months to <1 year of age. Patients should also be receiving conservative measures (e.g., thickened feedings). The use of intravenous famotidine in pediatric patients <1 year of age with GERD has not been adequately studied.
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 1-16 years of age 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.
Pathological Hypersecretory Conditions (e.g., Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, Multiple Endocrine Adenomas)
The dosage of famotidine in patients with pathological hypersecretory conditions varies with the individual patient. The recommended adult oral starting dose for pathological hypersecretory conditions is 20 mg q 6 h. In some patients, a higher starting dose may be required. Doses should be adjusted to individual patient needs and should continue as long as clinically indicated. Doses up to 160 mg q 6 h have been administered to some adult patients with severe Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome.
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