Famotidine Was Making Me Depressed And Caused Fatigue

More reflections on my experience with famotidine.

Preamble: I wrote this piece in August 2022, about six days after my previous piece on famotidine. I decided to do minimal edits before publishing it here. In particular, I did not adjust the chronology. I did not know I was autistic at the time. However, I’m now thinking that my autism led me to experience unusual effects from taking famotidine.

For those who don’t know, famotidine is available under the names: Pepcid, Zantac 360, Act, Dyspep HB, Fluxid, and Acid Controller.

So I was feeling utterly fatigued and depressed. There was nothing going on in my life that could explain it. I started researching what could be the problem, and I landed on famotidine as the likely culprit. I already wrote about it in another article.

I read in the side effects literature on famotidine that there exist cases where it can cause fatigue and depression. I talk of depression because when I was suffering from the effects of famotidine, I did not even want to get off the couch, and even my writing suffered from it to some extent. I did not produce as many articles as I used to.

My doctors were not helpful in determining what was ailing me. I did ask one of my doctor’s office for help, but a nurse replied that it was probably my insomnia messing me up. Nope, my problem had nothing to do with insomnia.

I was taking the famotidine because I had reflux, but it is also a medicine that can be given to people for other conditions. It serves as an antacid, for instance. People can also take bicarbonate sodium tablets against acid, but as far as I know, famotidine is one of the first over the counter (OTC) drugs that doctors give patients when they complain about reflux or acid.

I experienced two things when I stopped taking my antacid. My first night was okay, but right after I started experiencing reflux at night. This eventually went away. I’m now hypothesizing that stopping famotidine quickly after you’ve taken it for a while has a rebound effect. You are going to experience reflux for a few nights because of this rebound.

I’ve found websites talking about this, but nobody among my doctors warned me against a rebound effect. I even recall a doctor saying there’s no schedule for tapering off of the famotidine.

The other thing that I experienced is a slow return to my normal mood. It took a bit of time to get back to normal. At first, I was wondering whether I had put the cause of my depression on the wrong thing. However, slowly but surely, my mood improved. I no longer want to wallow on the couch and not do anything. My fatigue also improved. I still take short rest periods during the day, but these are sparser now and do not last as long.

I know from reading medical literature on depression and medicines that treat depression that sometimes people experience psychological effects because there is a depletion of some substance in the brain, or there is an accumulation of another substance. I suspect the reason my improvement was gradual is due to some of these processes.

Probably when I stopped taking the famotidine something had to be replenished, or perhaps depleted, before I could get back to my old self. This is something people ought to keep in mind when they try things: psychological changes can take a while to happen.

Actually, my descent into depression also took some time. I had been on famotidine for over a year without any negative side effects. It took quite a long time before I felt those side effects. This also supports my theory that recovery is also a progressive process rather than instantaneous.

I’ve noticed in the past, and even in the past week, that if I do have reflux at night, raising my torso at an angle is helpful. I can pretty much deal with light reflux that way. So I went on Amazon and bought a wedge pillow to see if it helps.

This wedge could also help with my insomnia. I’ve noticed some people promoting wedge pillows to deal with mild cases of apnea, which is what I have. So it might improve that too.






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