If you get red when you drink, chances are, you have tried using Pepcid AC (Famotidine) for preventing it. Famotidine is the generic form for Pepcid AC. It’s available over the counter and most commonly used to treat stomach ulcers, heartburn or acid indigestion, and GERD. So why do people who get red when they drink alcohol, also known as Alcohol Flush Reaction, use famotidine to try and prevent it?
Why Do People Use Pepcid or Famotidine for Alcohol Flush Reaction?
In order to answer why, we first need to understand what this reaction is and why people experience it. Alcohol Flush Reaction is a condition in which a person develops flushes or blotches associated on the face, neck, shoulders, along with one or more of the other symptoms such as nausea, headache, fatigue, racing heartbeat, bloodshot eyes, stuffy nose, feeling hot, and in some cases, hives. This is caused by a build up of acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of the catabolic metabolism of alcohol, which is caused by an ALDH2 deficiency. In addition, the build up of acetaldehyde also causes higher levels of histamine in the body. These high levels result in Alcohol Flush Reaction.
With this context, we can understand why people try to use famotidine to prevent the reaction from happening. Famotidine is an H2 blocker, which means that it blocks the histamine receptors responsible for triggering acid production. All alcohol we consume contains some level of histamine. Knowing this, it could work for some to use this medication to block the histamine receptors and reduce the red flushing. However, there are no studies that have shown famotidine is actually effective in treating the redness from drinking alcohol.
My Experience Using H2 Blockers for Preventing the “Asian Glow”
In my own personal experience of taking Pepcid AC to prevent the “Asian Glow,” as I referred to it, I had little success. I was told by my Asian friends to take the medication 30 minutes before drinking and I wouldn’t get red. Unfortunately, I would still get red (even if delayed), and all of the other uncomfortable symptoms would persist. For me, that was a racing heartbeat, pounding headache, nausea, fatigue, and bloodshot eyes. As I got older, these symptoms started to get even more severe. It never seemed worth it to have a drink. Couple this with the scary news that Zantac (another H2 Blocker used by a ton of people for preventing, “Asian Glow”), was pulled from shelves after studies had shown its active ingredient caused cancer, and I was determined to find a better solution.
Why I Use Glowless Patches
This experience is what led me to seek out other options like the Glowless patch. In order to use it, you put it on your upper arm, lower stomach, or upper chest, 45 minutes before you start to drink. Once absorbed through the skin, it helps to prevent the Alcohol Flush Reaction. Unlike other solutions, the patch is full of a proprietary blend of vitamins and antioxidants. Glowless doesn’t just mask redness, it also prevents the other nasty symptoms. Since it’s actually helping to break down the toxins from alcohol, it also helps a ton with preventing hangovers. I can finally enjoy a drink!