COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

Disclosures: Shoaibi reports being an employee of Janssen Research and Development and a shareholder of Johnson & Johnson, the product manufacturer of famotidine.
February 09, 2021
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No benefit from famotidine on COVID-19 outcomes

Disclosures: Shoaibi reports being an employee of Janssen Research and Development and a shareholder of Johnson & Johnson, the product manufacturer of famotidine.
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There was no reduced risk for COVID-19 outcomes among hospitalized patients treated with famotidine, according to study results.

“Several observational studies have investigated the effect of famotidine on COVID-19 outcomes but have been limited to single-institutional explorations of small samples with varying statistical methods and inconsistent results,” Azza Shoaibi, PhD, from Janssen Research and Development, and colleagues wrote. “Real-world data can potentially provide critical and timely evidence on the effectiveness of famotidine on improving COVID-19 outcomes.”

Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19 using data from electronic health records. They grouped patients by exposure to famotidine, proton pump inhibitors and hydroxycholorquine. They also had a famotidine non-user group. Investigators defined time at risk starting at day 1 after admission to 30 days after admission.

In their cohort, researchers identified 2,193 patients who used PPIs, 5,950 who used hydroxychloroquine, 1,816 who used famotidine and 26,820 non-famotidine users.

Shoaibi and colleagues determined that the hazard ratios for death for famotidine vs. no famotidine (HR = 1.03; 95% CI, 0.89-1.18), as well as vs. PPIs (HR = 1.14; 95% CI, 0.94-1.39) and vs. hydroxychloroquine (HR = 1.03; 95% CI, 0.85-1.24). They also observed similar results for the risk for death or intensive services use.

“Our study findings reflect the real-world use of famotidine at the day of admission for hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” Shoaibi and colleagues wrote. “However, given the conflicting findings and the inherent bias of existing observational studies, further evidence is needed to demonstrate its effectiveness. Until such evidence is available through the ongoing randomized clinical trial, the results from observational studies should be interpreted with caution.”