Authors: Freedberg DE, Conigliaro J, Sobieszczyk ME, Markowitz DD

PMID: 32446698 PMCID: PMC7242191 doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.05.053


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused 2 million cases and more than 150,000 deaths worldwide as of mid-April 2020.1 Clinical trials are under way to assess the efficacy of a variety of antiviral drugs; however, many of these drugs have toxicities and thus far no drug has been proven to improve outcomes in patients with COVID-19.

Famotidine is a histamine-2 receptor antagonist that suppresses gastric acid production. In vitro, famotidine inhibits human immunodeficiency virus replication.2 Recently, Wu et al.3 used computational methods to predict structures of proteins encoded by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genome and identified famotidine as one of the drugs most likely to inhibit the 3-chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro), which processes proteins essential for viral replication.4 We hypothesized that famotidine would be associated with improved clinical outcomes among hospitalized patients with COVID-19. To explore this, we performed a retrospective cohort study at a single academic center located at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Keywords: famotidine, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2