Pepcid is popularly known as famotidine. It is an extra-label drug (not solely used in cats) used in veterinary medicine. It is an H2 (histamine) blocker or antagonist which is used to block histamine receptors in the stomach.
Histamine is produced by the body during allergic reactions which causes swelling, stomach cramping, and spontaneous diarrhea. The H2 receptors in the stomach stimulate the production of stomach acid.
In cases where a cat has ulcers, H2 receptor blockers such as Pepcid are prescribed to reduce the production and pH of stomach acid. This gives time for ulcers to heal and to reduce inflammation. Ulcers can be found both in the stomach and in the intestines.
It is also prescribed as a form of prophylaxis in senior cats suffering from chronic kidney failure (CKD). Pepcid for cats is available as an injectable, tablet, syrup, and as a transdermal gel. It has various side effects and should be given under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian at the correct dosage.
It also interacts with various drugs and becomes ineffective when given together with food. Below we explore the various uses, side effects, and dosage in the use of Pepcid in cats.
What is Pepcid?
As mentioned Pepcid also known as famotidine, Pepcid AC or Pepcid RPD is a histamine receptor blocker. It prevents histamine receptors found in the stomach from stimulating the production of stomach acid.
It is an extra-label drug used by veterinarians for cats in the treatment of stomach ulcers. It is not approved by the FDA for use in animals.
What is Pepcid used for?
Pepcid is a histamine receptor blocker. Histamine is usually produced in the body during allergic reactions. It is also found in the stomach and is important in stimulating the production of gastric acid in the stomach.
Gastric acid has a low ph and is useful in killing bacteria in the stomach, breaking down of proteins to amino acids, and providing an optimal environment for the functioning of the enzyme known as pepsin.
Increased acid production often leads to corrosion of the protective inner layer of the stomach leading to the formation of ulcers. The presence of bacteria such as Helicobacteur pylori also plays a role by weakening the protective layers allowing the stomach acid to penetrate and injure the inner layer of the stomach forming ulcers.
Ulcers usually affect the stomach as well as the upper parts of the small intestines. Hyperacidity is commonly found in cases of gastritis, oesophagitis, gastric, and esophageal acid reflux.
Pepcid is prescribed in such situations to reduce the production of the gastric acid to give time for the ulcers to heal and reduce inflammation. Ulcers are usually accompanied by symptoms such as:
- In appetence
- Blood tinged stool or at time dark stool
- Stomach pain or cramps
Pepcid is also prescribed as a form of prophylaxis. This is in cases of chronic kidney failure common in senior cats. Kidney failure causes a decrease in platelet function which can lead to internal bleeding from the ulcers.
Patients suffering from chronic kidney failure are also prescribed long term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which often lead to stomach ulcers. The presence of Helicobacteur pylori bacteria also increases the risk of occurrence of peptic ulcers.
In such situations, Pepcid is prescribed to lower the production of gastric acid to slow down or prevent ulcer formation.
What are the side effects of Pepcid?
Pepcid is available in the form of a transdermal gel, injectable, tablets, and syrup. Though an extra-label drug, veterinarians prescribe it at a dosage of 0.25 – 0.5 mg/lb or 0.5 – 1mg/kg every twelve to twenty-four hours.
Pepcid has serious adverse side effects and should be used under the strict guidance of a registered veterinarian. Common side effects observed while in use include:
- Redness of the mouth or ears
- Rapid heart rate
- Collapse and death
If your cat has a known allergy to Pepcid other drugs such as cimetidine, ranitidine and nizatidine can be prescribed. They however have a lesser duration of action and are less potent. Common allergic signs include:
- Swollen face
- Pale gums
Pepcid should also not be used together with drugs such as:
It should also be used with care in pregnant and nursing cats. It may also cause weight gain therefore should be used with precaution in cats with heart disease and liver failure. Storage should be in a cool dark place.
In case of a missed dose, the next dose should be taken at the appropriate time or as soon as one remembers. If not taken signs may recur.
Pepcid is an extra-label drug used in veterinary medicine for the treating of peptic ulcers in cases such as esophageal and gastric acid reflux, peptic ulcers, parvovirus, and gastritis.
It is also prescribed to prevent the formation of ulcers in cats suffering from chronic kidney failure which is common. Pepcid works by blocking histamine receptors in the stomach which stimulate secretion of gastric acid in the stomach.
This allows time for the ulcers to heal and also in reducing inflammation. Pepcid should be given under the strict guidance of a registered veterinarian. The recommended dosage is 0.5 to 1 mg/kg every 12 to 24 hours.
Overdosing and underdosing can lead to adverse side effects which can be fatal. Pepcid should not be given together with food as it reduces its effectiveness. It should also be given two hours before or after with other medications to avoid the interaction.
It is also discouraged in pregnant cats or those who are allergic to the drug. Cats suffering from heart failure or liver failure should be prescribed under the strict guidance of a veterinarian as it causes weight gain and impaired metabolism respectively which is detrimental to the health of the cat.