A recent study from the University of Barcelona found that psychiatric medications can give some protection against COVID-19, with the common antidepressant fluvoxamine showing the strongest effect.
They found people taking fluvoxamine showed reduced symptoms, with the analysis indicating that mortality was around 15% lower than in those not taking fluvoxamine.
In the study, researchers did an analysis considered 30 clinical studies, including 145,000 patients.
They found that fluvoxamine may reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes and might be a good candidate for drug repurposing in COVID-19, while the increased risk for severe COVID-19 with antipsychotics is not absolute and depends on individual cases.
The team says evidence on the efficacy of antidepressants for the treatment of COVID-19 is still scarce, so we cannot conclude that clinicians should start antidepressants in patients with COVID-19 infection.
However, patients already on treatment with antidepressants who get infected with COVID-19, should not discontinue this treatment.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, patients with the depressive disorder who discontinue antidepressants have a higher risk of having another depressive episode.
Second, antidepressants can be prescribed safely in patients with COVID-19. It is possible that antidepressants can reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19, but the evidence is still weak.
The team also found any other drugs were studied as associated with a reduction in COVID-19 mortality:
Metformin, colchicine, angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACEi), angiotensin II receptor blockers, statins, vitamin D, antihistamines, alpha-blockers, anti-androgens, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, apixaban and aspirin, among others.
The study was conducted by Dr. Giovanna Fico et al and published in European Neuropsychopharmacology.
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