BREAKING! Studies Show Famotidine, A Common Indigestion Drug Could Help In Mild To Moderate Cases Of COVID-19
Famotidine and COVID-19
: To date there are still no proven effective and approved drugs for COVID-19 and most drugs are only authorized under experimental use.
However a commonly available and inexpensive drug that is used to ease the symptoms of indigestion may prove a worthy contender for treating COVID-19 infection in those whose disease doesn't require admission to hospital.
The research findings of a few small case series that have been peer-reviewed and published in the journal Gut
suggest that such an approach might be recommendable. https://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2020/06/04/gutjnl-2020-321852
The recovery effects were felt within 24 to 48 hours of taking famotidine, and a rigorous clinical trial is now warranted to see if the drug could be an effective treatment for COVID-19, say the researchers.
The drug Famotidine (Pepcid AC) belongs to a class of drugs known as histamine-2 receptor antagonists, which reduce the amount of stomach acid produced.
The drug can be taken in doses of 20-160 mg, up to four times a day, for the treatment of acid reflux and heartburn.
The study team report on 10 people (6 men; 4 women) who developed COVID-19 infection, all of whom happened to have been taking famotidine during their illness.
The degree of severity of five cardinal symptoms ie cough; shortness of breath; fatigue; headache and loss of taste/smell as well as general unwellness, was measured using a version of a 4-point scale normally applied to assess the severity of cancer symptoms (ECOG PS).
It was found that seven of the patients tested positive for COVID-19, using a swab test; two had antibodies to the infection; and one patient wasn't tested but was diagnosed with the infection by a doctor.
The patient’s ages ranged from 23 to 71 and they had a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds and known risk factors for COVID-19 severity, including high blood pressure and obesity.
All patients started taking famotidine when they were feeling very poorly with COVID-19, the symptoms of which had been going on from 2 up to 26 days at that point.
The frequently used dose was 80 mg taken three times a day, with the average treatment period lasting 11 days, but ranging from 5 to 21 days.
It was observed that in all 10 patients, symptoms quickly improved within 24-48 hours of starting famotidine and had mostly cleared up after 14 days.
Clinical improvement was evident across all symptom categories assessed, but respiratory symptoms, such as cough and shortness of breath, improved more rapidly than systemic symptoms, such as fatigue.
Also, seven of the patients didn't experience any side effects while on famotidine, and in the three who did, these were mild, and all but temporary forgetfulness were known side effects associated with taking the drug.
Though promising, the study team point out that the findings might have been affected by 'the placebo effect,' and/or hazy recall, added to which the number of case study participants was small.
The researchers caution, "Our case series suggests, but does not establish, a benefit from famotidine treatment in outpatients with COVID-19. And it is not clear how famotidine might work: if it might incapacitate the virus in some way or alter a person's immune response to it.”
The study team emphasized, "Clinically, we unreservedly share the opinion that well designed and informative studies of efficacy are required to evaluate candidate medications for COVID-19 as for other diseases.”
The research team suggests their findings warrant further more detailed study involving the use of famotidine.
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