Famotidine and COVID

Based on preliminary data, famotidine a common heart burn medication that is available both by prescription and over the counter, may play a role in fighting COVID-19. This is based only on a small observation on data from patients in China who had heartburn and contracted COVID-19.  From the study it was observed that 22% of the 1,536 patients who were not on famotidine died or were intubated and put on a ventilator. This was compared to the 84 patients that were on famotidine and 10% died or were put on a ventilator.


What is the mechanism behind famotidine?


The answer is unclear and needs to be researched further to validate if famotidine is beneficial in COVID-19. Zantac (or ranitidine) which belongs to the same class of medication was not shown to be effective against COVID-19. In addition, computer modeling has shown that the mechanism that famotidine uses to fight heartburn may also help against COVID-19. It does not appear to bind to an enzyme as some had speculated but rather it plays a role with histamine and COVID-19. Additional studies need to be performed before an answer is concluded.


There is a study in New York that is being conducted using high doses of famotidine in IV. The researchers will be posting the results as soon the trial ends.  So, should you be using famotidine? There is not enough evidence to indicate to start taking famotidine. If you have heartburn and are concerned about COVID-19 work with your provider and pharmacist.



  1. https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/09/health/famotidine-covid-19-correlation-study/index.html. Accessed on June 14, 2020
  2. https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/05/29/famotidine-histamine-and-the-coronavirus. Accessed on June 14, 2020
  3. https://www.drugtopics.com/latest/famotidine-trial-underway-nyc-covid-19-treatment. Accessed on June 14, 2020
  4. https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/heartburn-drug-may-have-potential-against-covid-19. Accessed on June 14, 2020