We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Differences between Famotidine and Ranitidine?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Although famotidine and ranitidine are distinct molecules, they have the same basic action in the body. They reduce acid production by the cells that line the stomach, by interfering with specific receptors on the outside of stomach cells. Both drugs are suitable for stomach ulcer treatments, gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD) and other conditions that cause an overproduction of stomach acid, but the amounts necessary and the way in which the drugs are absorbed by the body are different.

Famotidine and ranitidine are part of a group of drugs called histamine H2-receptor antagonists. The other two main members, as of 2011, are cimetidine and nizatidine. All of these drugs specifically act on a molecule called a H2-receptor, which sticks out from the outside of some cells.

Inside the stomach, cells with H2-receptors on the outside, called parietal cells, are those cells that produce acid into the stomach area when signals from elsewhere tell them more acid is necessary. Histamine is the particular signal molecule in this case, and famotidine and ranitidine block the H2-receptors from recognizing histamine. This mode of action gives the group of drugs their name, histamine H2- antagonists.

Even though famotidine and ranitidine are completely different molecules, their action is the same. They block the receptor and prevent more acid being produced, which gives them both potential uses in diseases that involve high levels of stomach acid. Examples include GERD and esophagitis, which can cause acid damage to the cells of the digestive system. Ulcers of the stomach and the nearby duodenum can also resolve with histamine H2-receptor antagonist treatment. Cancers of the region that create too much acid production can also be alleviated with one of these drugs.

Products containing famotidine typically need to contain less active ingredient than ranitidine products, with a typical dose of about 40 mg compared to a ranitidine dose of 150 mg. Conversely, more ranitidine is absorbed through the digestive tract than famotidine, but it can take longer to work than famotidine. As a molecule, famotidine has the chemical formula of C8H15N7O2S3, whereas ranitidine has the general formula C13H22N4O3S, and a hydrogen and chlorine atom can be tacked on to make a hydrochloride salt form. The two molecules are different in structure, shape and mass, but still work in the same way on the H2-receptor. People who take one of these drugs for a particular condition do not generally take the other at the same time.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
By anon945365 — On Apr 12, 2014

Ranitidine increases moitility, which helps to prevent weight gains seen when suppressing acid levels.

By Fa5t3r — On Jan 09, 2013

@indigomoth - The people who have an ulcer aren't particularly happy either. My dad had one and it convinced me that I never want to have one.

I think they have much better treatments for them now, including these drugs which I don't remember my father taking, but still, he was in a lot of discomfort and lost a lot of weight over his.

By indigomoth — On Jan 09, 2013

I'm glad a drug like this exists because it can be so uncomfortable when you produce too much stomach acid.

When I went traveling in a malaria prone country, when I returned the doctor gave me some pills to clear the malaria out of my system (if I had any). The instructions for taking the pills wasn't very clear and I ended up taking two at once each day, instead of taking them separately in the morning and night.

It really made my stomach acid go nuts and it ended up burning the sphincter that connects the end of the throat with the stomach. So, every time I swallowed, it hurt. And that was just a little bit of overproduction. I don't want to imagine what it feels like for someone who's got cancer or something on top of it.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.