Three drugs fail as COVID-19 treatments

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Scientists from the University of Minnesota found ivermectin and fluvoxamine cannot work as COVID-19 treatments.

They found the drugs cannot fight against COVID among overweight or obese patients who received them within seven days of symptom onset

They also found a third drug, metformin, did not meet the primary objective of improving oxygen levels, but it did slightly lower the odds that a patient would develop severe COVID.

They found metformin did lower the odds of emergency department visits, hospitalization or death by more than 40%, more than 50% if prescribed early. However, this is a secondary outcome, so it cannot be considered definitive.

Ivermectin, fluvoxamine (Luvox) and metformin are all approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for other purposes, and early in the pandemic all were floated as possible treatments for COVID.

Ivermectin, a dewormer, was promoted in particular by some as an alternative treatment for COVID. Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant, and metformin is a diabetes medication.

In the study, the team tested more than 1,300 COVID patients, who were selected to be treated with one of the three drugs individually, a placebo pill, or a combination of metformin and fluvoxamine or metformin and ivermectin.

Participants were overweight or obese, which is one of the known risk factors for severe COVID. A little more than half had been vaccinated.

The researchers found none of the three drugs helped patients’ blood oxygen levels remain normal. But metformin did help lower the risk of severe COVID and death.

More recent lab studies have indicated that metformin can act against SARS-CoV-2, the COVID virus when the two meet in a test tube.

Other researchers say that this clinical trial should close the door on the idea that ivermectin or fluvoxamine can help treat COVID.

It might be worth continuing to study metformin’s effectiveness against COVID very carefully.

In addition, there are now COVID treatments available that have been proven to work, such as Paxlovid and monoclonal antibodies.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about the cause of long COVID symptoms, and food allergy linked to lower risk of COVID-19 infection.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about antibody treatment that could reduce severe COVID-19, and results showing why some people physically less likely to get COVID-19.

The research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and conducted by Dr. Carolyn Bramante et al.

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