New Study Shows Common Antidepressant Guards Against COVID Hospitalization

According to the large study published Wednesday, a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early after Covid-19 diagnosis, Axios reports.

The trial, whose results were published in the journal Lancet Global Health, focused on fluvoxamine, antidepressant approved by the FDA in the 1990s to treat obsessive compulsive disorder.

The clinical trial led by researchers from the US, Canada and Brazil suggests that the readily available fluvoxamine, that got into focus for the study due to its anti-inflammatory properties, significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations.

The clinical trial included nearly 1,500 high-risk symptomatic Brazilian adult with an early COVID-19 diagnosis, who followed through with the fluvoxamine protocol.

The result showed that there was only one death among participants were given 100 mg of the drug twice daily for 10 days while among there were 12 deaths in the control group that was given a placebo. The study also showed that the hospitalization rate decreased by a third among the participants who were given fluvoxamine.

Outside scientists, however, raised a question whether they had yet identified the ideal dose since some patients struggled to tolerate the drug and stopped taking it.

Penny Ward, a visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London, also noted that the study left other questions unresolved beyond proper dosing, like how well the drug would work in the vaccinated since most patients in the study were unvaccinated.

According to the researchers, identifying inexpensive, widely available and effective therapies and repurposing widely available existing medicines with well understood safety profiles against COVID-19 is of great importance due to the major challenges regarding the production, allocation, and affordability safe and effective vaccines for COVID.

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