Study links SSRI antidepressant to reduction in COVID hospitalizations and deaths

The antidepressant fluvoxamine is associated with lower hospitalization and deaths for patients diagnosed with COVID-19, new research found

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis using data from six randomized controlled trials and five observational studies that compared selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to a placebo or the standard of care. They excluded studies assessing patients with past or ongoing SSRI prescriptions.

Previous research from randomized controlled trials showed conflicting results about the effects SSRIs have on COVID-19 patients. However, this new research points out that the previous discrepancies may have been due to variables in SSRI dosing regimens.

A medium dose of fluvoxamine is what researchers said they found to be more effective than a low dosage to help treat COVID-19. 

"It has been hypothesized that SSRIs exert their anti-COVID effects by binding to serotonin transporters and σ-1 receptors to attenuate inflammation," researchers wrote of their findings. "SSRIs may also interact with acid sphingomyelinase and σ-1 receptors to disrupt viral entry and virion assembly. Of the SSRIs under investigation, fluvoxamine has garnered considerable research interest due to its high binding affinity to σ-1 receptors compared to other SSRIs."


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