Fluvoxamine May Reduce COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Study Finds – .

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Fluvoxamine May Reduce COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Study Finds – .


TORONTO – An inexpensive and well-known drug fluvoxamine can save the lives of patients with COVID-19 and reduce hospitalizations by up to 30%, according to a new study.

The study, co-led by researchers at McMaster University and published in The Lancet on Wednesday, treated 741 randomly selected Brazilian COVID-19 patients with fluvoxamine, and 756 others with placebo. All patients were treated from January 15 to August 6, 2021 and were followed for 28 days. Not all patients were vaccinated.

Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant used to treat mental health problems such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Of the participants who received fluvoxamine, 10.6 percent (79) required treatment by a physician for more than six hours or were hospitalized. In comparison, 15.7 percent (119) of participants who received placebos were hospitalized or required medical treatment for more than six hours. When patients took all of their medications, the noted beneficial effect jumped to 65%, according to the study.

Dr Edward Mills, co-principal investigator of the trial, said the results could be a game-changer, especially in developing countries with low vaccination rates.

“This is a very important treatment effect, which has not yet been seen for any drug,” he told CTV National News in a video interview.

“This could be one of our most powerful weapons against the virus and its effectiveness is one of the most important discoveries we have made since the start of the pandemic,” he said in a written statement. separate.

Fluvoxamine has been in use since the 1990s and its safety profile is well known, Mills says. It costs around $ 4 per 10-day course, which is much cheaper than other treatments, he said.

“For fluvoxmine, 10 days of medication costs $ 4. Monoclonal antibodies for treatment at the same stage of the disease cost $ 2,100, ”he told CTV National News.

Mills says having a drug readily available can allow hospitals to avoid expensive and sometimes risky treatments.

The drug was identified at the start of the pandemic for its anti-inflammatory properties, which could help reduce severe immune responses patients may have in response to COVID-19. These severe reactions, called “cytokine storms”, can cause potentially fatal organ damage.

Although death was not a primary outcome of the study, further analysis found that among participants who took at least 80 percent of their doses, there was one death in the group that received fluvoxamine. , compared with 12 deaths in the placebo group.

Mills said the next step is to assess whether fluvoxamine combined with other interventions, such as steroids, may have a greater therapeutic effect. In addition, although fluvoxamine is widely available, it is not on the WHO essential drugs list. However, fluoxetine, a closely related antidepressant, is on the WHO list.

He says it’s important to check whether similar antidepressants can also be used to treat COVID-19.

“This is a specific antidepressant, are there other antidepressants in the same family that may be cheaper, have a longer half-life (the time it is in your system) or are more widely available? Would they demonstrate the same type of therapeutic benefit? He told CTV National News. “We’re going to have to look at this issue.

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