Pepcid Ingredient Famotidine Being Tested as COVID-19 Treatment

The patients are being given famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, and early results from the trial could be available in the next few weeks.

APRIL 27, 2020 -- COVID-19 patients at some New York hospitals are receiving heartburn medicine as part of a clinical trial.

The patients are being given famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, and early results from the trial could be available in the next few weeks, according to Dr. Kevin Tracey, president of Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health, which has 23 hospitals in the New York City area, CNN reported.

The clinical trial has 187 patients so far, with the goal of enrolling 1,200, Tracey said.

He and his colleagues decided to assess the use of famotidine in COVID-19 patients after observations in China that some patients taking the drug had better outcomes than those not taking the drug, CNN reported.

"We don't know if it has any benefit. We really don't. I swear we don't," Tracey said. "People are hoping for anything. But we need to do this clinical trial."

He noted that the patients in the clinical trial are in the hospital receiving mega-doses of famotidine intravenously -- doses about nine times greater than a person would normally take for heartburn, CNN reported.

"You should not go to the drugstore and take a bunch of heartburn medicine," Tracey warned.

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