Retrospective data analysis which claimed increased risk of serious disease in COVID-19 patients using famotidine, is re-reviewed and contradicted in this meta-analysis.

Key Messages

This new analysis contradicts the “Propensity Score Matching” based study by Sun et al. (2021) that claims the increased risk of severe COVID-19 for patients using famotidine.

Using meta-analysis the authors re-examine the effect of Propensity Score Matching on famotidine use. They conclude there is no significant statistical difference for reducing the risk of serious disease in COVID-19 patients between those who are taking famotidine and those who are not taking famotidine.

A response by Sun et al. acknowledges the limitations of the methods for both the analyses. Sun et al suggest that studies using higher doses of famotidine as a single agent may yield more conclusive results.

Sun et al. further concedes that considering the currently available evidence, it might be more reasonable to choose famotidine over Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s) for COVID-19 patients where applicable.

Editor’s note: Watch the videos in the Whiteboard Doctor YouTube channel to understand the controversy around the methodologies used in retrospective analysis and propensity score matching:

Digestive Diseases and Sciences

Publication Date: September 1, 2021
Peer Reviewed: Yes
Publication Type: Review/Commentary/Letter

No Evidence Indicates Famotidine Reduces the Risk of Serious Disease in COVID-19 Patients After Propensity Score Matching: Meta-Analysis and Systematic Reviews

Weizheng Li, Yongxue Dong, Xianmei Lei