Physicians in the US have been using indomethacin in the treatment of the symptoms of COVID-19 for some time and now have experience of using the drug in more than 60 patients.
Three primary care physicians, Dr Jonathan Leibowitz, Dr Robert Rothstein and Dr Aline Benjamin, have shared their insights and experiences.
Dr Leibowitz explained how the first patient was one of his own colleagues, Dr Aline Benjamin, another primary care physician in New York, who was suffering from COVID-19. After one dose of indomethacin, by the next morning her cough was “a million times better”, according to Dr Benjamin
Indomethacin is useful in the management of respiratory symptoms – relieving the pain on taking a deep breath and the incessant (and exhausting) coughing. The effect is evident after only one or two doses of 25-50mg. About 90% of patients respond to indomethacin treatment.
The feedback from patients has been very positive. “I have received many messages of thanks through my patient portal – we didn’t get that with hydroxychloroquine!” says Dr Leibowitz.
The beneficial effect appears to be specific to indomethacin rather than being a class effect with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Ibuprofen did not appear to have a beneficial effect on the cough.
Dr Leibowitz said, “If we had used indomethacin earlier, many patients would not have gone to the emergency room – and infected perhaps 100 other people in the process”.