Duexis (Ibuprofen; Famotidine) - Oral

Warning:

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued boxed warnings for Duexis. Boxed warnings are the agency’s strongest warnings for serious and potentially life-threatening risks. Review these warnings and discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider before starting treatment.

The boxed warnings:

Cardiovascular thrombotic events: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, including heart attack and stroke, which can be fatal. This risk may occur early in treatment and may increase with the duration of use. Duexis is also discouraged in the setting of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding/ulceration/perforation: NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious GI side effects including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Older adults and people with a prior history of peptic ulcer disease and/or GI bleeding are at greater risk for serious GI events.

What Is Duexis?

Duexis (ibuprofen and famotidine) is a combination drug, consisting of ibuprofen and famotidine. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that blocks the production of certain natural substances that cause inflammation and helps decrease swelling and pain. Famotidine is a histamine-2 (H2) receptor blocker. H2 receptor blockers work to reduce the secretion of acid in the stomach and prevent ulcers.

Duexis is used to relieve the signs of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and decrease the risk of developing ulcers in people taking ibuprofen.

Duexis is a prescription medicine and is available in the form of oral tablets.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Ibuprofen and famotidine 

Brand Name: Duexis 

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: NSAID and H2 receptor blocker 

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Oral

Active Ingredient: Ibuprofen and famotidine 

Dosage: Tablet

What Is Duexis Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Duexis to relieve the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It is also used to decrease the risk of developing stomach and upper intestine ulcers in people consistently using ibuprofen to treat arthritis.

How to Take Duexis

Do not increase or decrease the dose or take Duexis more often than prescribed. Take the tablets regularly to get the most benefit from the medicine. Tell your healthcare provider if your condition persists or worsens.

Take Duexis by mouth, usually three times a day or as prescribed by your healthcare provider. If the tablets cause a stomach upset, take them with food, milk, or an antacid. Swallow the tablet whole. Do not chew or crush the tablet. Splitting the medication may not provide enough famotidine to protect against ulcers.

Storage

Store Duexis in a tightly-closed container at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store the medication in the bathroom, as heat and moisture could negatively dilute your medication. Also, keep all medicines locked away from the sight and reach of children. It is often recommended to use a lock box to safely store this medication.

Do not keep unwanted or expired medicines with you. Discard unwanted medications. Do not throw the medicines in a waste bin, flush them down the toilet, or pour them into a drain unless directed.

The best way to discard a drug product when expired or no longer needed is through a medicine-take-back program. Ask your pharmacist or contact a local waste disposal company.

How Long Does Duexis Take to Work?

While dose volume may vary, Duexis may take up to two weeks of regular usage to achieve maximum benefit.

What Are the Side Effects of Duexis?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

As with all medications, Duexis can cause side effects. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you experience while taking this medication.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Duexis are:

Severe Side Effects

The FDA has issued boxed warnings for Duexis. Boxed warnings are the agency’s strongest warnings for serious and potentially life-threatening risks. Review these warnings and discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider before starting treatment.

The boxed warnings:

Cardiovascular thrombotic events: NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, including heart attack and stroke, which can be fatal. This risk may occur early in treatment and increase with the use duration. Duexis is also discouraged in the setting of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding/ulceration/perforation: NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious GI side effects, including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Older adults and people with a prior history of peptic ulcer disease and/or GI bleeding are at greater risk for serious GI events.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency. 

Serious side effects and symptoms can include:

  • Serious gastrointestinal (GI) issues: Severe ulceration or perforation to the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, or large intestine.
  • Severe hepatic (liver) injury: Hepatotoxicity and fulminant hepatitis.  
  • Serious cardiovascular thrombotic events: Heart attack, cardiac edema, and stroke.
  • Severe allergic reactions: Anaphylaxis and serious skin reactions/hypersensitivity.
  • Damage to the digestive tract: Upper GI ulcers and hematuria.

Long-term Side Effects

While many people tolerate Duexis well, long-term or delayed side effects are possible. Some long-term side effects of taking Duexis for a more extended period increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, especially in people who have had a history of heart diseases.

Report Side Effects

Duexis may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Duexis Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis:
      • Adults—1 tablet (800 milligrams (mg) ibuprofen and 26.6 mg famotidine) 3 times a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

Due to the possible effects of this medication, there may be changes to how Duexis is used. Users should be aware of the following before taking Duexis:

Severe allergic reaction: Avoid using Duexis if you have a known allergy to it or any of its ingredients. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a complete list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

Pregnancy: ​​Duexis can cause fetal harm after 20 weeks. Additionally, use of NSAIDs during the third trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of fetal patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Refer to your healthcare provider if you plan on becoming pregnant while taking Duexis.

Breastfeeding: We don't know enough about the safety of Duexis in human breastmilk and nursing babies. Talk with your healthcare provider if you plan to breastfeed, weigh the benefits and risks of taking Duexis while nursing, and the different ways available to feed your baby.

Missed Dose

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is nearly the time for your next dose. Continue taking the following doses regularly. Never take two doses at one time to make up for a missed one.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Duexis?

Do not take more Duexis than directed on the package label. While there is insufficient data available with regard to an overdose of Duexis, data related to Duexis’ active ingredients (ibuprofen and famotidine) have been documented.

Contact your healthcare provider immediately or go to the nearest emergency department if you take too much Duexis and experience severe side effects.

Overdose symptoms may include:

What Happens If I Overdose on Duexis?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Duexis, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Duexis, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to use it. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Ibuprofen may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. This is more likely in people who already have heart disease. People who use this medicine for a long time might also have a higher risk. Check with your doctor right away if you are having chest pain or discomfort, nausea or vomiting, pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck, trouble breathing, slurred speech, or weakness.

Ibuprofen may cause bleeding in your stomach or intestines. This problem can happen without warning signs. This is more likely if you have had a stomach ulcer in the past, if you smoke or drink alcohol regularly, if you are over 60 years of age, are in poor health, or are using certain other medicines (eg, steroids or a blood thinner).

Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

Your blood pressure might get too high while you are using this medicine. This may cause headaches, dizziness, or blurred vision. You might need to measure your blood pressure at home. If you think your blood pressure is too high, call your doctor right away.

If you are rapidly gaining weight, trouble breathing, chest pain or discomfort, extreme tiredness or weakness, irregular breathing, irregular heartbeat, or excessive swelling of the hands, wrist, ankles, or feet, check with your doctor immediately. These may be symptoms of heart problems or your body keeping too much water.

Check with your doctor right away if you have blood in the urine, decrease in the frequency or amount of urine, an increase in blood pressure, increased thirst, loss of appetite, lower back or side pain, nausea, swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs, trouble breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, vomiting, or weight gain. These may be symptoms of a serious kidney problem.

Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) may occur while you are using this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, confusion, difficulty with breathing, irregular heartbeat, nausea or vomiting, nervousness, numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips, or weakness or heaviness of the legs.

This medicine may cause a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.

Serious skin reactions, including exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have black, tarry stools, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, chest pain, chills, cough, fever, painful or difficult urination, red irritated eyes, red skin lesions, often with a purple center, sore throat, sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth, swollen glands, unusual bleeding or bruising, or unusual tiredness and weakness.

Using this medicine during the later part of pregnancy can harm your unborn baby. If you think you have become pregnant while using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.

This medicine may cause a delay in ovulation for women and may affect their ability to have children. If you plan to have children, talk with your doctor before using this medicine.

Some people who have used this medicine had symptoms of meningitis. If you have fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and stiff neck or back while using this medicine, check with your doctor right away.

Check with your doctor right away if blurred vision, difficulty with reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after your treatment. Your doctor may want your eyes be checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

Before having any kind of surgery or medical tests, tell your doctor that you are using this medicine. It may be necessary for you to stop the medicine for a while, or to change to a different medicine before your procedure.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Duexis?

Duexis is not appropriate for everyone and may be unsafe for people with the following conditions:

  • In people allergic to ibuprofen, famotidine, other NSAIDs, H2-receptor blockers, or any ingredients in Duexis.
  • People who have experienced an asthma attack, hives (urticaria), or other allergic reactions due to NSAIDs.
  • Shortly before or after heart bypass surgery or a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG).
  • People with renal insufficiency. 
  • If a person has exceeded their 30th week of pregnancy.

What Other Medications May Interact With Duexis?

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and vitamins or supplements. Some drugs can interact with Duexis and should be monitored by your healthcare provider.

Drugs groups that may interact negatively with Duexis include:

Specific drugs that may negatively interact with Duexis include:

Duexis may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with other drugs that are involved in homeostasis, such as:

Drugs dependent on gastric pH for absorption:

Concomitant administration of Duexis is not recommended with some drugs as it reduces the absorption and efficacy of the drug. These drugs need gastric acid for absorption.

Because famotidine lowers intra-gastric acidity, this may result in reduced absorption and loss of effectiveness of these drugs, including:

What Medications Are Similar?

Besides Duexis, there are other notable NSAIDs used in the treatment of arthritis. Similarly prescribed medications include:

  • Mobic (meloxicam): NSAID for the short-term relief of pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. It has the potential to affect the stomach or heart and increase bleeding.
  • Celebrex (celecoxib): COX-2 specific NSAID with lower GI side effects than many other NSAIDs. However, it may increase the risk of severe cardiovascular thrombotic events.
  • Advil (ibuprofen): NSAID used to treat pain, inflammation, and other symptoms of arthritis. Although anti-inflammatory doses of ibuprofen are highly effective in treating osteoarthritis symptoms, they come with an increased risk for GI damage.

This is a list of drugs also used for pain. It is not a list of drugs recommended to take with Duexis. Discuss any questions or concerns with your pharmacist or a healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Duexis used for?

    Duexis is a combination of ibuprofen and famotidine. It relieves pain from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis while reducing the risk of developing ulcers due to consistent ibuprofen use.

  • How does Duexis work?

    Duexis contains two drugs, ibuprofen and famotidine. Ibuprofen is an NSAID that reduces hormones that cause swelling and inflammation. Famotidine is a histamine-2 (H2) receptor blocker. H2 receptor blockers reduce the acid produced by the stomach, reducing the risk of ulcers due to ibuprofen.

  • How long does it take for Duexis to work?

    Duexis may take up to two weeks of regular intake to show the full benefits of the drug.

  • What are the side effects of Duexis?

    Common side effects of Duexis are nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, and others.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Duexis?

The combination drug Duexis is a choice of drug for people who have arthritis and need ibuprofen treatment. However, despite effective management of arthritis symptoms, ibuprofen has a potential risk of developing GI complications, including ulcers.

Taking Duexis as prescribed can give more benefits than ibuprofen used alone. Do not take separate tablets of ibuprofen and famotidine, as they will not work in the same way as Duexis.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. MedlinePlus. Ibuprofen.

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  4. MedlinePlus. H2 blockers.

  5. Prescribers’ Digital Reference. Famotidine/ibuprofen - drug summary.

  6. MedlinePlus. Meloxicam.

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