This common depression drug may help prevent severe COVID-19

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In a new study from McMaster University, researchers found an inexpensive antidepressant reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk people with COVID-19.

They tested the pill used for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder because it was known to reduce inflammation and looked promising in smaller studies.

The drug, called fluvoxamine, would cost $4 for a course of COVID-19 treatment.

In the study, the team examined the antidepressant in nearly 1,500 Brazilians recently infected with coronavirus who were at risk of severe illness because of other health problems, such as diabetes.

About half took the antidepressant at home for 10 days, the rest got dummy pills.

They were tracked for four weeks to see who landed in the hospital or spent extended time in an emergency room when hospitals were full.

The team found in the group that took the pill, 11% needed hospitalization or an extended ER stay, compared to 16% of those on dummy pills.

The effect was quite strong and independent experts monitoring the study suggested stopping it early because the results were clear.

The team’s future work will find the best dosing, whether lower-risk patients might also benefit and whether the pill should be combined with other treatments.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about this anti-inflammatory drug could reduce COVID-19 death risk and findings of these two drugs may help you recover from severe COVID-19.

For more information about COVID and your health, please see recent studies about this drug may help prevent serious illness in COVID-19 and results showing that this drug may improve survival in people with diabetes and COVID-19.

The study is published in The Lancet Global Health. One author of the study is Dr. Edward Mills.

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