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This antidepressant reduces the risk of prolonged hospitalization due to Covid-19

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A study published in “The Lancet” shows that fluvoxamine is effective in treating high-risk patients with Covid-19 and markedly reduced the stay in the emergency room and the period of hospitalization

Fluvoxamine, an antidepressant, has shown to be useful for patients with symptomatic Covid-19, with early diagnosis and certifies that it is possible to generate a rapid and high-quality reaction against the virus.

This trial, TOGETHER, studied the efficacy of this Covid-19 treatment among high-risk Brazilian adult patients and is the largest fluvoxamine trial of Covid-19 to date.

Of the 741 severe Covid-19 patients, after receiving fluvoxamine, only 79 required medical treatment for more than six hours or were hospitalized, compared with 119 of the 756 participants who received the placebo.

These findings represent an important step in understanding the role of fluvoxamine as a treatment for early-stage Covid-19 patients and finding inexpensive, available, and effective therapies against this disease.

The results of a new clinical trial, published in “The Lancet Global Health“, have shown that the use of fluvoxamine to treat high-risk patients with Covid-19 with early diagnosis was efficient since it markedly reduced the stay in the emergency room and the period of hospitalization.

The numerous studies and vaccination campaigns have proven to be effective and important in reducing the number of new symptomatic cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus. However, Covid-19 still poses a serious risk to people in countries with limited resources and limited access to vaccines, says Edward Mills of McMaster University, co-principal investigator of the trial.

Identifying inexpensive, widely available and effective therapies against Covid-19 is, therefore, of great importance, and also the reuse of existing drugs that are available and that are clearly safe, is very important.

Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is currently used to treat mental health conditions such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders. This drug was chosen as a potential treatment for Covid-19 due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

According to Angela Reiersen, associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis and co-author, “fluvoxamine can reduce the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines, which can be triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

The authors acknowledge some limitations in the study. Researchers are aware that although fluvoxamine is widely available, it is not on the WHO list of essential medicines that are available in all countries.

Image Credit: Getty

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