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Can Pepcic (famotidine) Treat COVID-19? -- Box of Pepcid and Handout About COVID-19

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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25 Comments

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Howard23061
August 1, 2021

What are the ingredients of the Covid vaccines and are any of them metallic or poisoness?

ConsumerLab.com
August 5, 2021

A list of the ingredients in each of the vaccines can be found in our CL Answer about the authorized COVID-19 vaccines: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/comparison-of-covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccines/#ingredients

None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines contains metals. A rumor had circulated that the Moderna vaccine included chloroform – which can be poisonous. This rumor was apparently based on misleading information about an ingredient, SM-102, that is in the Moderna vaccine. SM-102 itself does not contain chloroform, but is sold for research-use-only in combination with chloroform, which solubilizes the SM-102. The SM-102 in the Moderna vaccine does not include chloroform. SM-102 itself is not associated with any health hazards.

Attila21602
December 20, 2020

"A clinical trial in New York began in April of 2020 which will be completed in September." Do you know anything about the results?
Thanks

ConsumerLab.com
December 20, 2020

We have been looking, but have not yet seen results published.

Richard20802
August 26, 2020

I think it's pretty amazing that any of these drugs are still on the market. Instead of focusing on, say, the health of the lower esophageal sphincter, they'll give drugs that suppress HCl - leading to protein deficiency, compromised acid/immune function and potential malabsorption of minerals ... but hey: they'll continue to sell lots of harmful drugs! I know it's not in CL's mission statement to debunk some of these major, profit-making vehicles, but it would be nice to see alternative viewpoints and data (e.g. the purveyors of the blockers (targeted at GERD, etc.) indicate that there's "too much acid," yet they also claim that the situation gets worse as one ages; but studies are clear that as people age, HCl levels in the stomach go down (one might even draw some interesting mortality conclusions based on it) ... so how does that combination, in the claims, convince anyone at all?). This and other areas of prescription dogma need to be re-examined for the sake of everyone taking them.

James21242
October 27, 2020

I just take a Centrum Silver in the morning with famotidine. I'm as far from having a protein deficiency, or any other nutrient deficiency, as you possibly can be! And you say I may not need it. I can FEEL the heartburn, and my doctor concurs that famotidine diminishes that problem! I have no side effects, deficiencies, or abnormal lab tests of any kind on it!

Peter20775
August 22, 2020

The latest I have read about famotidine is that research shows it does not prevent viral replication and thus is unlikely to prevent infection. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-covid-19-heartburn-medicine-pepcid-does-not-work-antiviral Whether it helps with the inflammation is unknown.

ConsumerLab.com
August 26, 2020

Thank you. We had not seen that article and have now updated the article above.

Elaine L20136
June 7, 2020

Being an RN, I'm concerned that this article, which you cite and which is circulating on the internet, is going to cause people to do a few things: 1. hoard the medication necessary for patients who need it for stomach issues; and, 2. people self-medicating with large doses not prescribed or large-dose-approved by an MD, PA, or NP. Since this "study" only used a cohort of 10 patients, it does not indicate any evidence based best practice for treating, curing, or preventing COVID. I think your last paragraph, discussing famotidine as a potential treatment for COVID, is most important for individuals to read and understand: "Until results of this or other trials with famotidine are published, there is no solid evidence that famotidine is effective in treating COVID-19, and there is not even anecdotal evidence that it prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection."

ConsumerLab.com
June 8, 2020

We appreciate and share your concern and hope our coverage of this topic accurately presents the current level of information and informs regarding potential risks. We continue to update this article as information becomes available.

Karen19780
May 3, 2020

Because of steroid therapy my doctor wanted me to take an acid blocker. PPIs give me gas so I have been taking Pepcid 20 2x a day then cut down to 20 mgm. I recently started to notice palpitations more and more frequently. I looked up this drug on Epocrates ( I’m a retired medical professional) which indicated abnormal heart rhythm as an adverse reaction. I stopped the Pepcid and my heart is now totally regular- no more palpitations. I add that extensive testing in the past showed no cardiac abnormalities.

Rebecca19926
May 17, 2020

What do you make of this study? https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jm0493008 Or this: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.2295

Licorice has its own side effects of course. Would DGL work at all?

Thanks for all your great work!

AILEE 20862
September 3, 2020

From personal experience, 6-9 months of cycles of H2blockers,PPIs, antacids (incl.the perfunctory elimination of GERD exacerbants like no coffee,mint,spices,smoking, elevate head when sleeping etc.etc.) did nothing to eliminate the GERD symptons. Yet within a few days of ACV and digestive enzymes literally eased the situation and are a routine adjunct to being GERD-FREE.

Alison21010
September 28, 2020

Rebecca, I can't imagine that DGL would work for this since DGL, by its very name (Deglycyrrhizinated), has the glycyrrhizin REMOVED from it. According to the articles that you linked, the study was showing whether glycyrrhizin, itself, would help.

Jeanne21817
January 4, 2021

Actually DGL does work well for many people! I have used it in my functional nutrition practice and with family members who were weaning off of PPIs.

Carol19740
April 29, 2020

Thank you for your analysis, particularly in pointing out the risks of acid blockers. Use of an acid blocker does not seem logical on its face, since we know that stomach acid is one of our bodies' most important defense mechanisms against pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2 which is known to attach to the GI tract and cause nausea & loss of appetite in at least 30% of Covid patients.

ConsumerLab.com
April 29, 2020

Computer modeling has suggested that the famotidine molecule may inhibit an enzyme needed for viral replication. This is discussed in the Science article referenced above.

Natalia19759
April 29, 2020

Any thoughts on cimetidine, commonly known as Tagamet, that has potent immune enhancing properties? Thank you!

ConsumerLab.com
April 30, 2020

We're not aware of any evidence for cimetidine and COVID-19 at this time.

Brian20102
June 3, 2020

It’s important to distinguish between two categories of “acid blockers.” Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) that end in -azole, destroy the acid factory in the gut. The risks generally outweigh the benefits for long term use.

H2 antagonists are antihistamines that block some or most acid production. People build up a tolerance to them and they eventually will be less effective over time. They are generally safe for short or long term use, per peer-reviewed studies.

Monica20403
July 16, 2020

I stopped taking PPI in Jan of this year after noticing a number of side effects. PPI just treated the symptoms which always returned. After doing some research, I found out having no gall bladder, I need stomach acid. They we’re doing more harm than helping. Best decision for me.

Richard20803
August 26, 2020

Glad you've come to that conclusion; in fact, everyone needs a healthy level of HCl (except in the cases where there's a true stomach sensitivity (or ulcer), that underlying condition needs to be handled ASAP so that the person can return to normal, healthy digestive function). I'm sorry about your GB, but glad that it pushed you to the realization.

Amy21522
December 6, 2020

Nobody discusses 2 things not mentioned by the other commenters: having GERD truly interferes with your daily life and it isn’t so easy to dismiss and say you shouldn’t take meds. PPIs long term contribute to osteoporosis and for that reason I switched to famotidine which seemed to have fewer side effects. In the past I had found that eliminating simple carbohydrates from
My diet and eating a diet rich in beans to reduce my need for medications so I need to get back to that. I am also a physician.

ConsumerLab.com
December 6, 2020

Thanks for posting that, Amy. Your experience regarding diet is consistent with benefit with a Mediterranean diet. See this CL Answer:
https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/is-it-true-that-low-carb-or-mediterranean-diets-help-for-gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd/low-carb-mediterranean-diet-gerd/

Carla 21806
January 3, 2021

I appreciate Amy's acknowledgement of the daily devastation of life that GERD can create, especially because for some people GERD is caused not by diet or a weak esophageal sphincter but by other very complex underlying conditions -- for instance, h.pylori and its dreadful aftermath. I wish it were as easy as some suggest just to "say no" to PPI's because of the risks they present, risks that, unfortunately, seem to be heightened by COVID 19. However, for those who are suffering from certain underlying GI conditions, life can be torture without a PPI, at least in the short term.

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