Indigestion drug may help treat Covid-19 symptoms, say researchers

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A new research examined a medicine used for gastric troubles on Covid-19 patients to see its effects in subsiding the symptoms of the coronavirus disease.

The patients who were experiencing cough or shortness of breath, felt better after taking famotidine, which is safely used for suppression of gastric acid production, the research said.

The research has been published in medical journal Gut. Scientists believe this will help patients who are under home quarantine.

Famotidine is often given to people who experience indigestion. It is taken in doses of 20-160 mg, up to four times a day, for the treatment of acid reflux and heartburn.

For the findings, the scientists from Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory Cancer Centre in the US picked 10 people (six men; four women) who developed Covid-19 infection.

The severity of five cardinal symptoms – cough; shortness of breath; fatigue; headache and loss of taste/smell as well as general unwellness – was measured using a version of a 4-point scale normally applied to assess the severity of cancer symptoms (ECOG PS).

All started taking famotidine when they were feeling very poorly with Covid-19. The most frequently used dose was 80 mg taken three times a day, with the average treatment period lasting 11 days.

The findings showed that all 10 patients said that symptoms quickly improved within 24-48 hours of starting famotidine and had mostly cleared up after 14 days. Scientists said that the medicine reduced the level of acid in stomach.

However, they say the medicine helps Covid-19 patients, more work is needed to take a closer look at the clinical relevance of famotidine.