A study of 10 non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients using famotidine; quantitative symptom tracking.

Key Messages

The study investigated the potential benefits of famotidine for individuals affected by COVID-19 by following ten non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients who treated themselves with high doses of famotidine.

The most frequent regimen of famotidine used, was 80 mg three times a day for a median of eleven days. All patients started taking famotidine while having symptoms of COVID-19.

A significant improvement in the symptom score was reported within 24 hours of starting famotidine and improvement continued and normalized to pre-illness levels at 14 days after first famotidine use. The improvement of symptoms was across all categories, but airway-related symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath were reported to improve more rapidly than systemic symptoms such as fatigue.

The results of the study indicate that high doses of famotidine taken orally are well tolerated and related to the improvement of symptoms in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.


Publication Date: June 4, 2020
Peer Reviewed: Yes
Publication Type: Original | Clinical Retrospective
DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321852

Famotidine use and quantitative symptom tracking for COVID-19 in non-hospitalised patients: a case series

Tobias Janowitz, Eva Gablenz, David Pattinson, Timothy C Wang, Joseph Conigliaro, Kevin Tracey, David Tuveson


Treatment options for non-hospitalised patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to reduce morbidity, mortality and spread of the disease are an urgent global need. The over-the-counter histamine-2 receptor antagonist famotidine is a putative therapy for COVID-19. We quantitively assessed longitudinal changes in patient reported outcome measures in non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19 who self-administered high-dose famotidine orally.

Patients were enrolled consecutively after signing written informed consent. Data on demographics, COVID-19 diagnosis, famotidine use, drug-related side effects, temperature measurements, oxygen saturations and symptom scores were obtained using questionnaires and telephone interviews. Based on a National Institute of Health (NIH)-endorsed Protocol to research Patient Experience of COVID-19, we collected longitudinal severity scores of five symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches and anosmia) and general unwellness on a four-point ordinal scale modelled on performance status scoring. All data are reported at the patient level. Longitudinal combined normalised symptom scores were statistically compared.

Ten consecutive patients with COVID-19 who self-administered high-dose oral famotidine were identified. The most frequently used famotidine regimen was 80 mg three times daily (n=6) for a median of 11 days (range: 5-21 days). Famotidine was well tolerated. All patients reported marked improvements of disease related symptoms after starting famotidine. The combined symptom score improved significantly within 24 hours of starting famotidine and peripheral oxygen saturation (n=2) and device recorded activity (n=1) increased.

The results of this case series suggest that high-dose oral famotidine is well tolerated and associated with improved patient-reported outcomes in non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19.

COVID-19; COVID-19 symptoms; Famotidine; PROMs; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; outpatients.