It’s SingleCare Savings Week! Learn how to save even more on your Rx.

Skip to main content
Famotidine vs. omeprazole: Differences, similarities, and which is better for you
Drug vs. Drug

Famotidine vs. omeprazole: Differences, similarities, and which is better for you

Drug overview & main differences | Conditions treated | Efficacy | Insurance coverage and cost comparison | Side effects | Drug interactions | Warnings | FAQ

Famotidine and omeprazole are two common drugs that can be used to treat a number of digestive problems. Whether you are experiencing a duodenal ulcer or symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), your healthcare provider may recommend a drug like famotidine or omeprazole. These drugs work in similar ways to decrease acid production in the stomach. Although they’re usually found over the counter (OTC), famotidine and omeprazole can also be prescribed by a doctor.

Antacids like Tums (calcium carbonate) are often tried first before starting on something stronger like an H2 blocker, such as famotidine, or a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), such as omeprazole. Fortunately, famotidine and omeprazole are generic medications that are widely available. While they are both considered acid reducers, they differ in how they work and how they’re used.

What are the main differences between famotidine and omeprazole?

Famotidine

Famotidine (famotidine coupons) is also known by its brand name, Pepcid. It is classified as an H2 blocker or H2-receptor antagonist. Famotidine works by blocking a substance called histamine in the stomach to decrease acid production.

The effects of famotidine (more famotidine details) can be felt within one hour and can last up to 12 hours depending on the dose taken. Famotidine tablets are often taken once or twice daily for digestive problems.

Omeprazole

Omeprazole (omeprazole coupons) can be purchased as a brand-name drug called Prilosec or Prilosec OTC. Unlike famotidine, omeprazole is classified as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). It works by directly blocking proton pumps in the lining of the stomach to stop acid production.

The effects of omeprazole (more omeprazole details) can be felt quickly within one hour after taking it. However, its antisecretory effect can last up to 72 hours, which is much longer than that of famotidine. Omeprazole is usually taken once daily.

Main differences between famotidine and omeprazole
Famotidine Omeprazole
Drug class H2 Blocker Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI)
Brand/generic status Brand and generic version available Brand and generic version available
What is the brand name? Pepcid Prilosec
What form(s) does the drug come in? Tablet
Liquid suspension
Capsule
Tablet
Liquid suspension
What is the standard dosage? Duodenal ulcers: 40 mg once daily or 20 mg twice daily
GERD: 20 mg twice daily
Duodenal ulcers: 20 mg once daily
GERD: 20 mg once daily
How long is the typical treatment? Up to 6 or 8 weeks or longer depending on the condition being treated Up to 4 or 8 weeks or longer depending on the condition being treated
Who typically uses the medication? Adults and children aged 17 years and older. Children aged 1 to 16 years old may use this drug with instruction from a doctor. Adults and children aged 17 years and older. Children aged 1 to 16 years old may use this drug with instruction from a doctor.

Conditions treated by famotidine and omeprazole

Famotidine and omeprazole can be prescribed to treat GERD, duodenal ulcers, and stomach ulcers. Both medications are also FDA-approved to treat erosive esophagitis (EE), or inflammation of the lining in the esophagus. Erosive esophagitis is often caused by GERD.

Prescription famotidine and omeprazole can also be used to treat hypersecretory conditions, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. These drugs can help reduce stomach acid caused by rare disorders.

Want the best price on Famotidine?

Sign up for Famotidine price alerts and find out when the price changes!

Get Price Alerts

Over-the-counter (OTC) versions of famotidine and omeprazole can be used for the relief of occasional or frequent heartburn. Acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid gets backed up into the esophagus, is a common cause of heartburn.

Omeprazole is FDA-approved to treat Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, infections. The bacteria that cause this infection attacks the stomach lining, which can result in peptic ulcers. Treatment includes omeprazole combined with an antibiotic like amoxicillin or clarithromycin.

Condition Famotidine Omeprazole
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) Yes Yes
Duodenal ulcers Yes Yes
Stomach ulcers Yes Yes
Heartburn Yes Yes
Erosive esophagitis Yes Yes
Hypersecretory conditions Yes Yes
H. pylori infection No Yes
Chronic urticaria (itching) Off-label No
Barrett esophagus No Off-label

Is famotidine or omeprazole more effective?

Both famotidine and omeprazole can be effective drugs for treating GERD and other digestive conditions. However, the general consensus is that omeprazole is a more potent drug than famotidine.

Randomized, clinical trials have shown that PPIs are more effective in treating duodenal ulcers than H2 blockers. PPIs were found to significantly increase ulcer healing compared to H2 blockers. No significant differences were found between the PPIs that were studied, which included Prevacid (lansoprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), and Aciphex (rabeprazole).

In people who take blood thinners, such as clopidogrel and aspirin, a PPI or H2 blocker can be used to prevent ulcers. One systematic review found that PPIs were superior to H2 blockers in preventing gastric ulcers. The studies in the review mostly compared Prilosec (omeprazole) or Nexium (esomeprazole) with Pepcid (famotidine) or Zantac (ranitidine).

It’s important to seek medical advice from your healthcare provider before taking famotidine or omeprazole. The more effective drug is ultimately the one that works best for your condition.

RELATED: Lansoprazole coupons | Protonix coupons | Rabeprazole coupons | Clopidogrel coupons | Aspirin coupons | Prilosec coupons | Nexium coupons | Pepcid coupons | Zantac coupons

Want the best price on Omeprazole?

Sign up for Omeprazole price alerts and find out when the price changes!

Get Price Alerts

Coverage and cost comparison of famotidine vs. omeprazole

Most Medicare Part D plans and other insurance plans will cover generic famotidine tablets. Famotidine can cost a retail price of $100 on average if you don’t have insurance coverage. If you’re looking for the best deal, SingleCare offers discount coupons on drugs like famotidine. With a SingleCare famotidine coupon, you can expect to pay $9-$30.

Try the SingleCare prescription coupon card

Omeprazole delayed-release capsules are covered by most Medicare and insurance plans. The average retail cost of omeprazole is about $70 on average. For generic omeprazole capsules, you can use a SingleCare coupon card to lower this cost. With a SingleCare omeprazole coupon, you can reduce the price to around $15 for 30 20 mg capsules.

  Famotidine Omeprazole
Typically covered by insurance? Yes Yes
Typically covered by Medicare? Yes Yes
Standard dosage 20 mg tablets (quantity of 60) 20 mg capsules (quantity of 30)
Typical Medicare copay $0–$21 $0–$19
SingleCare cost $9-$30 $15+

Common side effects of famotidine and omeprazole

The most common side effects of famotidine and omeprazole are headache, dizziness, constipation, and diarrhea. Other gastrointestinal side effects are common and include stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting. Omeprazole can also cause flatulence or gas.

Serious side effects include allergic reactions to any of the ingredients in these medications. Allergic reactions can include rash or trouble breathing. Seek medical attention if you experience serious adverse effects.

  Famotidine Omeprazole
Side Effect Applicable? Frequency Applicable? Frequency
Headache Yes ≥1% Yes 7%
Dizziness Yes ≥1% Yes 2%
Constipation Yes ≥1% Yes 2%
Diarrhea Yes ≥1% Yes 4%
Stomach ache Yes <1% Yes 5%
Nausea Yes <1% Yes 4%
Vomiting Yes <1% Yes 3%
Flatulence No Yes 3%

This may not be a complete list. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for possible side effects.
Source: DailyMed (famotidine), DailyMed (omeprazole)

Drug interactions of famotidine vs. omeprazole

Famotidine primarily interacts with drugs that depend on stomach acid for absorption. These drugs include antiretrovirals, such as atazanavir and rilpivirine, and antifungals, such as ketoconazole and itraconazole. Taking famotidine can decrease the absorption of these drugs and decrease their overall effectiveness.

RELATED: Atazanavir coupons | What is Atazanavir? | Ketoconazole coupons | What is Ketoconazole? | Itraconazole coupons | What is Itraconazole?

Famotidine can also interact with tizanidine, a muscle relaxer that is processed by the CYP1A2 enzyme in the liver. Famotidine can increase levels of tizanidine in the body which can lead to low blood pressure (hypotension), slow heartbeat (bradycardia), or extreme drowsiness.

Omeprazole also interacts with some antiretroviral medications, which can lead to a decrease in their effectiveness. Unlike famotidine, omeprazole can interact with drugs that are processed by the CYP2C19 and CYP3A4 enzymes in the liver. These drugs may include tacrolimus and rifampin, among other drugs.

Omeprazole can interact with warfarin and increase the risk of abnormal bleeding. Taking omeprazole with an immunosuppressant called methotrexate can lead to methotrexate toxicity.

Drug Drug Class Famotidine Omeprazole
Atazanavir
Rilpivirine
Nelfinavir
ledipasvir /sofosbuvir
Fosamprenavir
Antiretrovirals Yes Yes
Erlotinib
Dasatinib
Chemotherapy Yes Yes
Ketoconazole
Itraconazole
Antifungal Yes Yes
Tizanidine Muscle relaxer Yes No
Tacrolimus
Methotrexate
Immunosuppressant No Yes
Warfarin Anticoagulant No Yes
Rifampin Antibiotic No Yes

This may not be a complete list of all possible drug interactions. Consult a doctor with all the medications you may be taking.

Warnings of famotidine and omeprazole

Severe GERD symptoms or ulcers may be a sign of gastrointestinal cancer in some people. Additional testing and monitoring may be needed for people who don’t respond to treatment with a PPI or H2 blocker.

Famotidine should be used with caution in elderly people or those with kidney problems. Famotidine use can lead to an increased risk of CNS (central nervous system) adverse effects such as confusion, delirium, and hallucinations.

Omeprazole tends to have more warnings and precautions associated with it compared to famotidine. Unlike famotidine, omeprazole and other PPIs can increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures when used long term.

Omeprazole use, especially in a hospital setting, may lead to an increased risk of Clostridium difficile related diarrhea. One study found that proton pump inhibitors are associated with more risks of serious adverse effects like pneumonia and C. diff infections. The study took data from 71 hospitals and assessed PPI and H2-blocker use in a specific population of patients.

Frequently asked questions about famotidine vs. omeprazole

What is famotidine?

Famotidine is an H2 blocker medication that is used to treat GERD, duodenal ulcers, and stomach ulcers. It is also FDA-approved to treat hypersecretory conditions like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome in adults. Famotidine is the generic form of Pepcid and is usually taken twice daily.

What is omeprazole?

Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that is FDA approved to treat digestive conditions such as GERD and ulcers. It is also used to treat H. pylori infections. Omeprazole is known by its brand name, Prilosec or Prilosec OTC. It is often taken once daily for four to eight weeks.

Are famotidine and omeprazole the same?

Famotidine and omeprazole are not the same. Although they treat similar gastrointestinal problems, they are different drugs. Famotidine is an H2 blocker and omeprazole is a PPI.

Is famotidine or omeprazole better?

Omeprazole is considered a more effective drug when compared to famotidine. Omeprazole lasts longer in the body with effects that increase after taking it every day. This cumulative effect is not seen with famotidine. However, omeprazole may have more adverse effects associated with its use.

Can I use famotidine or omeprazole while pregnant?

Famotidine may have less risk of causing harm during pregnancy compared to omeprazole. Consult your healthcare provider when choosing a treatment option while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Can I use famotidine or omeprazole with alcohol?

Famotidine should be avoided with alcohol. Drinking alcohol while taking famotidine can increase the risk of CNS effects like confusion or drowsiness. Omeprazole may be fine to take with alcohol in moderation. However, mixing medications with alcohol should be avoided when possible, especially if you notice an increase in side effects.

What is the safest acid reflux medicine?

Everyone responds to medications differently. Therefore, the safest acid reflux medicine is the one that works best for you with the least amount of side effects. When compared to famotidine, omeprazole may have an increased risk of adverse effects, such as osteoporosis, especially when used long term.

Is it ok to take Pepcid every day?

Pepcid is typically taken on a daily basis for up to six, eight, or 12 weeks at a time. The duration of treatment depends on the condition that is being treated. Talk to your doctor to find out how long you should be taking Pepcid for. Consider lifestyle changes in addition to medications to help relieve heartburn that is more frequent.

What is the fastest acting heartburn medicine?

Antacids usually work the fastest for treating heartburn symptoms. Antacids like Rolaids (calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide) (Rolaids coupons) can neutralize acid within 30 minutes of taking them. When compared to famotidine, calcium carbonate was found to have a faster onset of action. While they give quick relief of heartburn, antacid effects do not last for the whole day. H2 blockers and PPIs last longer and are reserved for more chronic digestive conditions like GERD.