A team of American researchers recently determined that fluvoxamine may be effective in preventing serious complications requiring hospitalization in patients with Covid-19.
A common antidepressant
Faced with the pandemic and the lack of a cure, scientists have tried to reorient various existing drugs in order to prevent serious complications and avoid overloading hospitals. Among the compounds which have so far been shown to be effective in managing and reducing the incidence of cases of Covid-19, we find in particular dexamethasone and hydrocortisone (anti-inflammatory drugs).
As part of this work presented in the review JAMA, researchers at the University of Washington evaluated the effects of fluvoxamine, used to treat anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Belonging to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), it interacts with sigma-1 protein in the body and helps reduce inflammation.
Excessive inflammation and storms cytokines being considered as possible causes of mortality in patients with severe forms of Covid-19, the team decided to explore the effects of this compound, which had previously resulted in reduced inflammation and sepsis in different animal models by blockingIL-6 (pro-inflammatory cytokine).
No worsening of symptoms in subjects taking fluvoxamine
For this randomized clinical trial, the researchers included 152 patients Covid-19 suffering from a mild to moderate form of the disease (not requiring hospitalization) in the metropolitan area of St Louis. With an average age of 46, the subjects were diagnosed between April 10 and August 5, 2020 and had oxygen saturation of at least 92%.
The participants were divided into two groups which received fluvoxamine (80 patients) or placebo (72 patients) for fifteen days. At the end of this period, the research team found that none of the members of the fluvoxamine group suffered from any worsening of symptoms. While six of the 72 patients in the control group had seen their general health deteriorate. This resulted in hospital stays of up to 3 weeks and the placement of one of the subjects on a ventilator for 10 days.
” If a larger clinical trial confirms these results, fluvoxamine would be the ideal treatment for newly diagnosed Covid-19 patients “, Say the authors of the study. ” It is not an investigational drug, it is cheap and safe and could be used as a first line of defense to relieve hospitals that are overwhelmed by the health crisis. “