A large clinical trial has found that a common and inexpensive antidepressant lowered the odds that high-risk Covid-19 patients would be hospitalized. The results, published on Wednesday, could open the door to new guidelines for the drug’s use both in the United States and globally.
The drug, fluvoxamine, has been safely prescribed for nearly 30 years as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder. But when the coronavirus started spreading, researchers were drawn to the medication because of its ability to reduce inflammation, potentially allowing it to quell the body’s overwhelming response to a coronavirus infection.
The researchers found that patients who received fluvoxamine were 32% less likely to be hospitalized than those in the placebo group. Among patients who stuck to the regimen closely and reported taking the drug or placebo for at least eight days of the 10-day course, there was an even bigger difference—a 66% reduction in hospitalization and 91% reduction in death rates.
This work was funded by a major investment from Fast Grants.