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Is Pepcid vegan?

The symptoms of heartburn can range from being a minor nuisance to a very painful or uncomfortable experience. Many over-the-counter remedies exist, but perhaps one the most popular options is Pepcid, or its generic, famotidine. Many brands and formulations exist for Pepcid/famotidine, making it difficult to determine which are animal-free and which are not.


What does heartburn feel like?

The following are some symptoms of heartburn:

  • Dry mouth

  • Bitter taste in mouth

  • Throat pain

  • Burning in chest/throat

  • Chronic cough

  • Burping/Bloating

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Nausea



What is Pepcid?

Pepcid is the brand name for famotidine, a drug that helps to reduce excess stomach acid which can cause heartburn and GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)


Is Pepcid a PPI?

No, Pepcid is not a PPI. PPI stands for proton-pump inhibitor, and this class of medications includes other common over-the-counter medications like Prilosec (omeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), and Nexium (esomeprazole). These medications suppress acid production for longer periods of time than Pepcid, and should be used for heartburn prevention, rather than as an as needed treatment.


Is Pepcid an Antacid?

No, Pepcid is not an antacid. Common brands of antacids include Tums, Rolaids, and Mylanta. These medications work by neutralizing the acid in the stomach using ingredients that are the opposite of acids, hence the name “anti-acid”, or antacids!


Is Pepcid an Antihistamine?

Yes! Pepcid, or famotidine, is a special kind of antihistamine that targets the stomach, rather than targeting allergy symptoms like other antihistamines like Zyrtec and Claritin. Pepcid suppresses acid production in the stomach, working within 15-30 minutes and suppressing acid for close to 12 hours!


Pepcid Products

There are currently 5 available Pepcid products: 

Pepcid Product

Ingredients

Original Strength Pepcid AC Tablets with Famotidine

Famotidine 10 mg 

Carnauba wax, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, red iron oxide, talc, titanium dioxide

Maximum Strength Pepcid AC Tablets with Famotidine 

Famotidine 20 mg

Carnauba wax, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, talc, titanium dioxide

Pepcid AC Maximum Strength Heartburn Relief & Acid Reducer, Icy Cool Mint, 20 mg Famotidine Tablet

Famotidine 20 mg

Carnauba wax, FD&C blue no. 1 aluminum lake flavors, hypromellose 2910, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, pregelatinized starch, sucralose, talc, titanium dioxide

Pepcid Complete Chewable Tablets with Famotidine and Antacids

Famotidine 10 mg, Calcium Carbonate 800 mg, Magnesium hydroxide 165 mg

  • Tropical Fruit Flavor: Cellulose acetate, corn starch, corn syrup solids, crospovidone, dextrose excipient, FD&C yellow no. 5 aluminum lake (tartrazine), FD&C yellow no. 6 aluminum lake, flavors, gum arabic, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, maltodextrin, mineral oil, sucralose, triacetin

  • Berry Flavor: Cellulose acetate, corn starch, crospovidone, D&C red no. 7 calcium lake, dextrose excipient, FD&C blue no. 1 aluminum lake, FD&C red no. 40 aluminum lake, flavors, gum arabic, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, maltodextrin, mineral oil, modified starch

  • Cool Mint Flavor: Cellulose acetate, corn starch, crospovidone, D&C yellow no. 10 aluminum lake, dextrose excipient, FD&C blue no. 1 aluminum lake, flavors, gum arabic, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, maltodextrin, mineral oil, sucralose

Pepcid Complete ON-THE-GO Chewable Tablets with Famotidine and Antacids

Famotidine 10 mg, Calcium Carbonate 800 mg, Magnesium hydroxide 165 mg

  • Berry Flavor: Cellulose acetate, corn starch, crospovidone, D&C red no. 7 calcium lake, dextrose excipient, FD&C blue no. 1 aluminum lake, FD&C red no. 40 aluminum lake, flavors, gum arabic, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, maltodextrin, mineral oil, modified starch, sucralose

Key: 

  • Purple: Ingredients that can be animal or synthetic/plant-derived

  • Red: Animal-derived ingredients


So, is Pepcid animal-free?

The short answer is no. Unfortunately, the manufacturer of Pepcid, Johnson & Johnson, is unable to confirm the absence or presence of animal-derived ingredients in the following Pepcid products: 

  • Original Strength Pepcid AC Tablets with Famotidine

  • Maximum Strength Pepcid AC Tablets with Famotidine 

  • Pepcid AC Maximum Strength Heartburn Relief & Acid Reducer, Icy Cool Mint, 20 mg Famotidine Tablet


Animal-Free Pepcid Alternatives

It may seem like verified animal-free options for heartburn are limited, however, there are many generic and alternative brand options that exist on the market that have been verified animal-free: 

  • Zydus Pharmaceuticals - Famotidine Tablets ✓ Verified Animal Free

  • Aurobindo Pharma - Famotidine Tablets ✓ Verified Animal Free

  • Ascend Laboratories - Film-Coated Famotidine Tablets ✓ Verified Animal Free


Conclusion

Heartburn is a common condition that affects most populations of people. One long standing over-the-counter option is Pepcid (famotidine). It can be difficult to find animal-free options for common medications, but VeganMed has successfully verified heartburn relief options that are animal-free! While Johnson & Johnson may not be able to confirm the animal-free status of Pepcid products, there are several generic and alternative brand options that are verified animal-free!


Co-author: Christopher Carpenter


 

Disclaimer: The product and/or information provided on VeganMed is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not lab test the products to confirm that they are free from animal ingredients, and it is possible that the formulation and ingredients could have changed. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product. The information provided in this post is accurate and up to date as of the date it was written. However, please note that circumstances and facts may change over time, and new information may become available that could alter the accuracy or relevance of the content. We encourage readers to verify and cross-reference any information provided here with trusted sources or consult relevant professionals for the most current and accurate updates.


 

Looking for certified and verified animal-free products?



Thank you for your awareness and concern for animal-derived ingredients!


As a reminder, please comment on our FDA Citizen Petition, requesting clear labeling of animal-derived ingredients in medications. Together, we can make a difference.


If you have any further questions about ingredients in your medicines and supplements, feel free to reach out to the VeganMed team!


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