A role for famotidine and other acid reflux medications in treating COVID-19: A pilot study
Journal of Voice
Publication Date: January 20, 2021
Peer Reviewed: Yes
Publication Type: Original | Clinical Retrospective
Role of Famotidine and Other Acid Reflux Medications for SARS-CoV-2: A Pilot Study
Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the coronavirus-19 disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The H-2 blocker famotidine has been suggested as an FDA-approved drug that could potentially be repurposed for treatment of COVID-19. Famotidine has since been shown to improve patient outcomes and reduce symptom severity in patients acutely ill with COVID-19. Other studies have suggested that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) might have an association with COVID-19.
The purpose of the present study was to determine whether famotidine or any other antireflux medications have a prophylactic or detrimental effect for SARS-CoV-2 infection when taken regularly for the management of acid reflux.
An anonymous, web-based survey was distributed via email to adult otolaryngology patients to collect demographic data, past medical history, medication history, incidence of symptoms associated with COVID-19, potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2, and results of any PCR or serological testing. Associations between reflux medications and incidence of COVID-19 cases were analyzed. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS. Chi-square with Fisher’s exact test, Point-Biserial correlation, Kendall’s-tau-b, independent samples t test, and the Mann-Whitney U test were used as appropriate. A binary logistic regression model was fit to determine probability of COVID-19 cases after adjustment for other risk factors.
There were 307 patients who responded to the survey. The average age of respondents was 52.63 ± 17.03. Famotidine use was not associated with incidence of laboratory-confirmed (P= 0.717) or symptomatically suspected (P= 0.876) COVID-19. No other reflux medications were found to be significant predictors for laboratory-confirmed or suspected COVID-19 (P> 0.05). Younger age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.043, 95% CI: 1.020-1.065, P< 0.001), high risk obesity (OR = 4.005, 95% CI: 1.449-11.069, P= 0.007), and use of a corticosteroid nasal spray (OR = 3.529, 95% CI: 1.352-9.211, P= 0.010) were significant predictors for symptomatically suspected COVID-19 cases. Conclusions: There was no association between incidence of COVID-19 and use of reflux medications, including famotidine at doses used orally to manage reflux and high dose PPIs. Reflux medications did not protect against or increase the risk of COVID-19.