Common antidepressant may reduce Covid-19 death risk


EVIDENCE is growing that a common antidepressant may reduce the severity of symptoms and mortality following SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In an observational study, patients taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were 8% less likely to die from COVID-19.

Those taking fluoxetine or fluvoxamine were 26% less likely to die. Phase 3 clinical trials are necessary to see whether researchers can replicate these observations on a large scale.

In the hunt for COVID-19 treatments, several drugs have shown promise. Currently, the two oral antivirals, Molnupiravir, from Merck, and PaxlovidTrusted Source, from Pfizer, are being hailed by many as the answer to the pandemic.

However, there are still some questionsTrusted Source about their efficacy and safety, so the search for safe, effective treatments continues.

Now, an observational study has shown that some of the most common prescription antidepressants may reduce both the severity of COVID-19 and mortality from the disease.

Researchers from the University of California and Stanford University School of Medicine carried out a retrospective cohort study of 83,584 people with a COVID-19 diagnosis.

They discovered that individuals taking SSRIs had a lower relative risk of death than those who were not.

This study adds to evidence from previous research into the effects of SSRIs. Three clinical trialsTrusted Source, one published only last monthTrusted Source, found that fluvoxamine use had links to a reduced risk of clinical deterioration following SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, commented on the study: “I would call it very provocative.

It is a large ecological study that builds on previous information suggesting that this class [of drugs] may actually have a role in treating [SARS-CoV-2] infections.”

Of those surveyed in the study, which appears in JAMA Network OpenTrusted Source, 3,401 were taking SSRIs.

The researchers matched participants for sociodemographic characteristics, medical comorbidities, and medication indication with 6,802 controls who were not taking SSRIs.

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