Our Members Asked:
I read that famotidine (Pepcid) may help treat COVID-19. Is this true? Might a proton pump inhibitor, like Prilosec, help?
Answer:Interest in famotidine for treating COVID-19 (caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 infection) was triggered by a preliminary report that people in China with COVID-19 who had taken famotidine for its approved use (as an "H2 blocker" to reduce stomach acidity) had better outcomes than people who were not taking it or who had been using other types of acid reducers, such as Prilosec (omeprazole — a proton pump inhibitor or PPI).
However, famotidine has not been shown to prevent SARS-Cov-2 infection and although some preliminary studies and reports suggested a possible benefit of famotidine in people with COVID-19, a large study of hospitalized COVID-19 patients given famotidine upon admission found no benefit.
PPI use may increase the risk of some microbial infections, but it does not seem to affect the risk of SARS-Cov-2 infection. Preliminary evidence has found PPI use to be associated with increased risk of COVID-19 being severe, although not with death.
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