Famotidine, a drug used to reduce stomach acid production, indigestion and heartburn, has reportedly been successful in treating coronavirus symptoms, according to a Science Magazine study in which the drug underwent clinical trials in COVID-19 patients.
The drugs, called H2 blockers, lower acidity in the stomach and prevent the burning sensation in the esophagus that indicates acid reflux. The new clinical discovery had prompted the United States Food and Drug Administration to add famotidine, the active compound in the over-the-counter heartburn drug-brand Pepcid, to its list of drug shortages.
The case for trialing famotidine was bolstered by a computer model used by Florida-based Alchem Laboratories to compile a list of existing drugs that might fight coronavirus. Famotidine showed up near the top of the list, as a potent drug against Covid-19.
According to Dr. Abraham Khan, President of Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, famotidine was flagged because in theory the drug is structured in a way that could prevent the coronavirus from replicating, in the same way, that protease inhibitors, which are used to treat HIV, stop that virus from replicating
The study found that those who receive famotidine had a two-fold decreased risk of either dying or being intubated. Though nothing is proved on how the H2 blocker drug relieves the Covid-19 symptoms, physicians consider this association is ‘really compelling’.