Common heartburn drug may have helped 10 patients at home with Covid-19
(CNN) Ten people who were home sick with Covid-19 may have found relief with a common over-the-counter heartburn remedy, according to a study published Thursday.
A coauthor of the study emphasized that it’s a small group of patients. Even so, he said he was “encouraged” by the results and now plans to do a larger study with outpatients on famotidine, the over-the-counter ingredient in Pepcid.
“We want to know, what’s the best way to address these patients, and keep them out of the hospital and get them feeling better sooner,” said Dr. Joseph Conigliaro, a physician at Northwell Health in New York and coauthor on the paper.
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In the report, published Thursday in the medical journal Gut, all but one of the study subjects took the drug within 10 days of first experiencing symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. The 10th patient took it 26 after symptoms began. They were between the ages of 23 and 71.
“All patients noticed a rapid improvement in their condition within 24 to 48 hours of starting famotidine,” according to the report. “These findings suggest that famotidine may affect the course of COVID-19.”
The researchers report they all felt nearly back to normal two weeks after taking the drug.
The report, called a case series, was written by doctors at Northwell and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and other universities.
There’s interest in studying famotidine because it’s inexpensive and considered to be very safe, and one study has suggested the drug helps hospitalized Covid patients.
In the outpatient report, 7 of the 10 patients had no side effects. The other three experienced relatively minor side effects, nearly all of them known to be associated with famotidine, such as dizziness and gastrointestinal issues.
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