3 medications fail as possible COVID-19 treatments

A research team led by the University of Minnesota's public health and medical schools in Minneapolis found three drugs — metformin, ivermectin and fluvoxamine — do not reduce the risk of COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths. 

It was the first U.S. study to test the three treatments and one of the first COVID-19 clinical trials to include pregnant people, according to the University of Minnesota

Metformin is a medication for Type 2 diabetes that's in early trials to test its antiviral abilities. Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant, and ivermectin is an antiparasitic. 

The study, which was published Aug. 18 in JAMA, tested a placebo against each drug on its own, metformin with ivermectin and metformin with fluvoxamine. To enroll, the 1,323 study participants had to test positive for COVID-19 within three days and qualify as medically overweight. About half of the participants were vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Although metformin had slightly higher results at reducing hospitalizations, ER visits or deaths, this phase 3 study didn't find statistically significant results in any of the treatments. 

"A possible benefit for the prevention of the more severe components of the primary end point [emergency department visit, hospitalization, or death] was shown for metformin. However, this finding was a prespecified secondary end point and thus cannot be considered to be definitive, pending the results of other trials," the researchers wrote.


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