Over the last few weeks, researchers have been discreetly studying a new potential therapy for COVID-19 and it may not be what the general public expects.
The remedy in question is called famotidine, and it is the active ingredient in Pepcid, an over-the-counter medicine commonly used to alleviate heartburn.
Since March 13, researchers at Northwell Health, a network of hospitals in New York, have been enrolling sufferers hospitalized with COVID-19 into their study of famotidine, which is being delivered via an IV in megadoses nine times greater than the typical over-the-counter dose. The medication is being given in combination with the much-lauded antimalarial hydroxychloroquine.
Researchers said some knowledge on safety will be available “in a couple of weeks,” however, they did not say when data can be available showing whether the drug combination is efficient.
Dr. Kevin Tracey, chief, and president of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health, says the study was being carried out under the radar to avoid media attention as well as a possible depletion of national supply, limiting Northwell’s access to the medicine.
Over 180 sufferers have enrolled in the Northwell study thus far. They’ve been given either a two-drug combination of hydroxychloroquine and famotidine or hydroxychloroquine alone. According to Tracey, hydroxychloroquine was added into the mix due to the drug’s promise back in mid-March — before data appeared about its potential risks.