Antidepressant may reduce risk of severe COVID-19, study finds

The antidepressant fluvoxamine may reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 infection by a third in high-risk individuals, according to a study published Oct. 27 in The Lancet Global Health

The drug, sold under the brand name Luvox, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor commonly used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. 

Researchers studied 1,497 COVID-19 patients in Brazil, 741 of whom were administered 100 mg of fluvoxamine twice daily; 756 received a daily placebo.

Eleven percent of the COVID-19 patients taking fluvoxamine required hospitalization compared to 16 percent of those taking the placebo. Researchers reported a 5 percent decrease in absolute risk and 32 percent decrease in relative risk. 

Patients in the study had a higher rate of hospitalization than patients in other trials, which researchers noted as one of the study's limitations. 

"Given fluvoxamine's safety, tolerability, ease of use, low cost, and widespread availability, these findings might influence national and international guidelines on the clinical management of COVID-19," the researchers concluded.

Read the full study here


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