Heartburn meds tapped in coronavirus treatment

Trial started in mid-March and includes 150 people

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Researchers at a New York hospital system are looking into a common heartburn drug as a possible coronavirus treatment in combination with hydroxychloroquine.

Americans have been taking famotidine, also known by the brand name Pepcid, for years. The famotidine/hydroxychloroquine trial is one of six being run by the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, the science wing of Northwell Health.

CORONAVIRUS PATIENT STUDY RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER TEMPERATURE CHECKS WORK

The trial started in mid-March and includes 150 people. Patients receive the treatment intravenously three times a week.

A patient is transferred from Elmhurst Hospital Center to a waiting ambulance during the current coronavirus outbreak April 7, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Northwell began looking into famotidine's potential after infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Callahan visited Wuhan and noticed that patients who were already on the drug appeared to have a better chance of surviving coronavirus.

Famotidine's rarer, more serious side effects include easy bruising and mood changes.

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Northwell, New York's largest health system, has been at the forefront of studying coronavirus and released a study that examined 5,700 hospitalized coronavirus patients last week. The study raised questions about whether temperature checks may be effective in screening for the virus.

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