Covid: fluvoxamine, the antidepressant likely to cut down hospitalization risks, studies found

Published by Manon C., Laurent P. · Published on 2 November 2021 at 16h50
There is a potential new Covid drug! Following preliminary results from a Canadian study released this past August, the results of a Brazilian clinical results issued this late October in The Lancet seem to confirm antidepressant fluvoxamine considerably decreases hospitalization risk for people contaminated.

After dexamethasone and the different monoclonal antibodies, has a new Covid drug been discovered to prevent hospitalization as much as possible? Anyway, this is what Canadian scientists have discovered when working on the Together clinical trial. The preliminary results of the study have been released in pre-print on a NIH collaborating website. And this drug is an antidepressant, fluvoxamine.

According to the first results, fluvoxamine is said to enable to cut by one third the risk of being hospitalized in people developing severe infection. What was the study about, then? It was a clinical trial including 1,480 sick: 742 of them have been treated with fluvoxamine, 738 others with placebo.

And results of a new clinical trial about fluvoxamine have been issued this late October in The Lancet. This time, the study has been conducted in 1,500 patients likely to develop severe Covid (over 50 years of age, non-vaccinated, diabetic...), in a dozen hospitals in Brazil. As an outcome, sick given fluvoxamine were not as many as those given a placebo to be hospitalized (11% against 16%). As for deaths, there have been 25 dead in the placebo group and 17 in the fluvoxamine group.

Yet, conclusions of the study are to be tempered: the latter does not enable to conclude there is a genuine relationship between the antidepressant and the cut in death. But, the fact two hospital criteria have been taken into account (hospitalization and visit to the ER because of overcrowded hospitals in Brazil at the time of the study) also interfere with the conclusions of the study as for the reduction of the hospitalization risk.

This therapy is not new since many scientists have been working on this molecule part of the Fiasma family, likely to have a positive impact on sick people. For instance, the AP-HP has released an observational study in June 2021 and concluded to a 42% decrease in intubations when it comes to sick given the molecule.

And if results are to be approved, it would be a genuine asset: the molecule has been around for about a decade, although used in other situations, but it does not have many side effects and is not very expensive to manufacture. A much easier drug to give in comparison with monoclonal antibodies, for instance, currently used to prevent severe disease at the hospital. To be continued.

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