News 3 medical expert addresses Pepcid and COVID-19 research

News 3 medical experts addresses Pepcid and COVID-19 research
Posted at 7:25 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 19:26:29-04

NORFOLK - Medical experts are studying the effectiveness of a popular heartburn medication and its ability to treat COVID-19 patients.

Research out of China suggests famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, may help slow down the virus in some patients, but News 3 medical expert Dr. Ryan Light said there's not enough evidence to use it as a safe COVID-19 treatment.

"It was not statistically significant," Light said of the study that gathered data from roughly 6,000 patients in China.

Light said the study seemed to suggest that famotidine kept the virus from reproducing as rapidly in patients who were already taking Pepcid prior to their diagnosis. However, without enough evidence to support it as a coronavirus treatment, people could be putting themselves at risk of serious health complications by taking it without doctor supervision.

"[Famotidine] can affect your heart," Light said. "It can also affect your kidneys. If you have any kind of heart condition or if you have any kind of kidney problem, please don't take this just because you think it's going to help."