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Study reveals antidepressant fluvoxamine reduced COVID hospitalisation risk by up to a third

Fluvoxamine has typically been used to treat mental health illnesses such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it was chosen for this experiment because of its anti-inflammatory qualities.

Study reveals antidepressant fluvoxamine reduced COVID hospitalisation risk by up to a third gcw
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Washington D.C., First Published Oct 28, 2021, 1:27 PM IST
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Large-scale research published Thursday found that treating high-risk Covid-19 patients with the antidepressant fluvoxamine might cut the likelihood of extended hospitalisation by up to a third. According to the authors, the study might enhance low-cost protection against severe illness or death in nations where appropriate vaccine doses have yet to be received due to a grossly unequal rollout. Fluvoxamine has typically been used to treat mental health illnesses such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it was chosen for this experiment because of its anti-inflammatory qualities. Many Covid-related diseases are caused by edoema, which occurs when the immune system overreacts to the infection.

Writing in the journal The Lancet Public Health, researchers from North and South America described results in nearly 1,500 Covid-19 outpatients in Brazil. Of the 741 people that received fluvoxamine, 79 — just over 10 percent — had an extended stay in hospital. Of the 756 who received a placebo, 119 were hospitalised.  Authors said that administering fluvoxamine resulted in a relative reduction in hospitalisations of 32 per cent.

Also Read | COVID can negatively impact mental health, quality of life: Study

According to co-principal scientist Edward Mills of McMaster University, COVID-19 still risks those in low-income countries with limited access to vaccines. It went on to say that discovering affordable, broadly available, and effective therapeutics against Covid-19 is critical and that repurposing current drugs with widely known and well-understood safety profiles is of particular relevance.

Although it was not the study's intention, it was discovered that 12 individuals in the placebo group died, whereas just one in the fluvoxamine group died from the infection. The authors emphasised the importance of further research because fluvoxamine is not on the World Health Organization's list of essential medications and can be addictive.

Also Read | US study reveals COVID-19 vaccine 1st dose can boost mental health, Indian doctors affirm

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