This depression drug can help reduce death risk in COVID-19

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a recent study, researchers found an inexpensive oral antidepressant can save the lives of COVID-19 patients and cut hospital admissions by up to 30%.

They treated 738 randomly selected Brazilian COVID-19 patients with fluvoxamine, while another 733 received a placebo between Jan. 20 and Aug. 6 of this year.

Every patient receiving fluvoxamine during the trial is tracked for 28 days to determine their health outcomes and if they still need hospital treatment.

The researchers found about a 30% reduction in events among those receiving fluvoxamine compared to those who did not.

The study is from McMaster University. One researcher is Ed Mills.

The fluvoxamine trial formed part of the larger TOGETHER Trial that started in May 2020, aiming to test potential COVID-19 treatments in a community setting.

TOGETHER Trial scientists tested eight drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, metformin, kaletra and ivermectin, but only fluvoxamine had a positive effect on COVID-19.

The team says fluvoxamine is the only treatment that, if administered early, can prevent COVID-19 from becoming a life-threatening illness.

It could be one of the most powerful weapons against the virus and its effectiveness is one of the most important discoveries we have made since the pandemic began.

In addition, this cheap, easily accessible pill is a massive boon to public health, both in Canada and internationally, allowing hospitals to avoid expensive and sometimes risky treatments.

The team says costing about $4 per 10-day course, fluvoxamine could be a game-changer for poorer countries with low vaccination rates and lacking access to more advanced COVID-19 therapies.

Fluvoxamine has been used since the 1990s and its safety profile is well-known. It was identified early in the pandemic for its potential to reduce cytokine storms—severe immune responses to COVID-19 that can cause potentially lethal organ damage.

If you care about depression, please read studies about scientists find a core feature of depression and findings of this health problem may double your depression risk.

For more information about depression and your health, please see recent studies about why is it so hard to withdraw from some depression drugs? and results showing that one dose of this drug may lower anxiety and depression for 5 years.

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