Coronavirus outcomes improved by heartburn drug famotidine, according to study

Another observational study was released supporting the notion that a heartburn drug helps improve clinical outcomes in coronavirus patients.

Famotidine, which is used to treat heartburn and is commonly sold as Pepcid AC, was associated with improved clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients according to a recent study by Hartford Hospital that has been accepted in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

“The main finding of our single-center, retrospective study of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is that use of famotidine is associated with improved clinical outcome including lower in-hospital mortality and a lower composite endpoint of death and/or intubation,” study author, Jeffrey F. Mather, from the division of research administration at Hartford Hospital, said in one report.

Researchers developed a database for all COVID-19 patients and their clinical information to answer questions about the medical outcomes in their coronavirus treatment. The database allowed the researchers to observe the effect of experiments in patients with other conditions and the effect of medications on the course of the disease, Rocco Orlando, chief of academic affairs at Hartford Healthcare, told Fox News.

Famotidine in Pepcid, which is an acid-reducing drug, used in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 was associated with a lower risk of death, lower risk of combined-outcome of death and intubation, and lower levels of severe disease effects in the blood of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, he said.

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Famotidine, a heartburn medication, was associated with improved clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients, according to a recent study out of Hartford hospital. (iStock)

The research team discovered that treating patients with famotidine was associated with certain markers that are potential signs for severe forms of the virus, according to health experts.

According to reports about the study, another analysis found that famotidine worked well in coronavirus patients who had the highest national early warning scores, a measure healthcare professionals use to determine the degree of illness of a patient and critical care treatment intervention, health experts state.  It is still being investigated as to how this drug affects SARS-Cov-2, the scientific name for the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to the reports.

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“There have been a few small observational studies and retrospective reviews that raise the potential benefit of Pepcid in early COVID disease.” Dr. Ira Schmelkin, chief of the division of gastroenterology at Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass., told Fox News.  “Early on, doctors in China noticed that elderly patients with lower socioeconomic status seem to be dying at a lower rate. It was noticed that these patients were taking the less expensive famotidine than the more expensive Proton pump inhibitors,” Schmelkin said to Fox News.

The next step in the research would be a randomized placebo-controlled prospective study to see if famotidine is of clinical benefit, the chief of gastroenterology said.

The Hartford researchers said in reports that their findings should be interpreted cautiously since it is a retrospective, observational, single-center study. Like Schmelkin, they suggested further research is needed regarding the use and dosage of famotidine in the treatment of novel coronavirus.