(NY DAILY NEWS) – Some coronavirus patients in New York have volunteered to be given heartburn medication while hospitalized so doctors can monitor whether it works as a treatment.
The clinical trial currently includes 187 patients who are intravenously receiving large doses of famotidine, which is the active component in Pepcid products, according to CNN.
The hospital patients participating in the trial are being given doses by medical professionals that equate to about nine times the normal amount that a person would take for heartburn relief, explained Dr. Kevin Tracey, who serves as the president of Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research.
“You should not go to the drugstore and take a bunch of heartburn medicine,” Tracey told CNN.
Northwell Health operates 23 hospitals in or near New York City and Long Island.
The clinical trial started earlier this month after medical professionals noticed in China that some patients who had been taking the heartburn medication were doing well comparatively amid their treatment for COVID-19.
Tracey is hopeful that the preliminary findings of his trial will be available in the coming weeks. Studies regarding Chinese patients have not been released, he told CNN.
“There are many examples in the history of medicine where a drug that was designed for one purpose turns out to have an effect in another disease,” Tracey told the outlet.
He also said that it would not be difficult to share famotidine with the masses if it is proven to be an effective treatment for coronavirus — but cautioned that they don’t know yet if it actually has any benefit toward fighting COVID-19.
Northwell hopes to have 1,200 patients take part in the trial at some point.