Pepcid vs Zantac – Which Heartburn Medicine Is Better During Pregnancy?


It is the brand name of a drug called famotidine, a histamine-2 blocker that works by decreasing the amount of acid the stomach produces. It was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1986.


It is typically used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter), duodenal and stomach ulcers, and conditions where too much stomach acid is secreted, like – Zollinger-Ellison syndrome or acid reflux.


To prevent heartburn, the usual recommended dose is 1 tablet, taken by mouth with a glass of water 15-60 minutes before the main meal.

Note – do not use more than 2 tablets in 24 hours unless directed by your healthcare professional.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Famotidine

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness;
  • headaches;
  • diarrhea;
  • constipation.

Rare side effects may include:

  • facial swelling;
  • liver enzyme abnormalities;
  • jaundice;
  • heart rhythm problems.

Drug Interactions

This medication may negatively interact with other drugs, including:

  • pain relievers, like – Naproxen (Aleve);
  • muscle relaxants, such as – Tizanidine (Zanaflex);
  • HIV/AIDS medications, such as – Atazanavir (Reyataz).


It is the brand name of a drug called ranitidine that belongs to a group of medications called histamine-2 blockers. It works by reducing the amount of acid the stomach produces.


This histamine-2 blocker is typically used to treat:

  • sour or upset stomach;
  • heartburn;
  • acid indigestion;
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD);
  • stomach and duodenal ulcers.


To treat heartburn, the usual recommended dose is 1 tablet with a glass of water 30-60 minutes before eating food. The maximum recommended dose is 2 tablets in 24 hours. Its effects last for about 12 hours.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Ranitidine

Commons side effects may include:

  • dizziness;
  • headaches;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • constipation;
  • diarrhea;
  • stomach pain;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • tender breasts;
  • difficulty having an orgasm;
  • decreased sex drive;
  • drowsiness.

Rare side effects may include:

  • fast or slow heart rate;
  • unusual weakness;
  • problems with your vision;
  • coughing up yellow or green mucus;
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes;
  • easy bleeding;
  • clay-colored stools;
  • dark urine;
  • loss of appetite;
  • red skin rash;
  • headaches with a severe blistering;
  • feeling short of breath;
  • chest pain, fever.

Drug Interactions

Tell your healthcare provider if you take:

  • midazolam;
  • procainamide;
  • gefitinib (Iressa);
  • delavirdine (Rescriptor);
  • atazanavir (Reyataz);
  • ketoconazole (Nizoral);
  • glipizide (Glucotrol);
  • triazolam (Halcion);
  • warfarin (Coumadin).

Pepcid vs Zantac – Which Heartburn Medicine Is Better During Pregnancy?

Heartburn is very common but a very unpleasant condition. It is triggered when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus (a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach). About 14–20 percent of all American adults experience acid reflux in some form or another.

Heartburn during pregnancy is also very common due to the high levels of progesterone and estrogen, leading to the lower esophageal sphincter weakening.

Both these medications can be effective in reducing heartburn, however, they don’t treat the condition, plus, they come with plenty of side effects.

For instance, according to a 2010 study, exposure to this type of medicine during the first trimester of pregnancy was not linked with a significantly increased risk of major birth defects. However, among the women who took the medication during the third trimester of pregnancy, 3.4% had infants who had major birth defects while 2.6% of the mothers who didn’t take the medications had infants with the same problems.

Bottom Line

Since this condition is generally harmless, there is no point in taking these drugs during pregnancy.

6 Home Remedies For Heartburn

#1 Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV is an acid with a pH of around 5. Hence, it helps with heartburn by lowering the pH of the stomach contents to improve digestion as well as to reduce the pressure build-up.

#2 Don’t Drink Too Much Coffee

It is better to reduce your caffeine intake (even better – completely avoid all sources of caffeine, especially during pregnancy) since caffeine temporarily weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, which may increase the risk of acid reflux.

More importantly, when you intake caffeine, it crosses the placenta into the amniotic fluid (this fluid serves as a cushion for the growing fetus) and your baby’s bloodstream. While an adult body can easily get rid of the caffeine, the baby’s body can’t handle caffeine very well.

Furthermore, avoid any source of caffeine if you are breastfeeding since caffeine can easily pass into breast milk and may negatively affect your baby.

#3 Lemon Juice

Taking lemon juice can help with this condition since this fruit can activate pepsin, the stomach enzyme which breaks down proteins. In addition, the citrus fruit can help to protect your body against cell damage and to lower your blood pressure. Moreover, lemons may help in weight loss, which may also help reduce the symptoms of heartburn.

To use it, you can drink 2 tbs of fresh lemon juice squeezed into a half glass of water after a meal.

#4 Eat Smaller Portions

When your body senses that you have eaten a large amount of food at once, stomach acid production is turned up in order to facilitate digestion. Hence, by eating less food at once, you can reduce the symptoms of heartburn since your body produces less stomach acid.

#5 Fennel

Fennel has a long history of medicinal use and as a flavoring food as well. According to studies, many people have confirmed the positive effects of drinking fennel tea in order to reduce the symptoms of heartburn. You can also chew a few fennel seeds after a meal to help digestion.

#6 Ginger

Ginger can reduce inflammation. This may relieve symptoms of acid reflux. In addition, it can reduce the likelihood of stomach acid flowing up into the esophagus. However, if you take too much, you may make your symptoms worse. 5g per day is sufficient.

#7 Nutrition

A study which was conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has concluded that high fiber diets help individuals fight heartburn. Also, dietary fiber causes the human body to draw fluid from digested food, that contributes bulk to meals, increasing satiety levels.

Good sources of fiber include – red kidney beans, chia seeds, black beans, sunflower seeds, broccoli, flax seeds, lentils, chickpeas, walnuts, almonds, tomatoes, radishes, apples, pears, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, hazelnuts, cabbage, zucchini, oat bran, beets, oatmeal, quinoa, wild rice, or ginger.

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