Cheap Anti-Depressant May Reduce Risk Of COVID Hospitalization: Lancet Study

London: Vaccines have been working quite well in the fight against COVID-19 in most countries.

Now, high-risk cases of coronavirus disease may also be treated with a common anti-depressant and cheap drug.

Fluvoxamine, a drug used to treat mental health conditions like depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), may reduce hospitalization of severely-hit COVID patients by up to 30%, according to a study published in The Lancet Global Health journal recently.

The research, conducted between January 15 and August 6 this year, used fluvoxamine to treat 739 COVID patients from Brazil, while 733 other patients received a placebo.

Further, every patient who was administered fluvoxamine was tracked for 28 days to check on their health, and to see if they still needed hospitalisation.

The study found that hospital admissions came down by about 30% in case of fluvoxamine usage compared to corresponding figures for placebo.

Among patients taking all their medicines, reduction in hospitalization was nearly 65%.

“Fluvoxamine may reduce the production of inflammatory molecules known as cytokines, that can be triggered by SARS-CoV-2, the Covid-causing virus,” said research co-author Angela Reiersen.

The drug, however, is not among World Health Organization’s essential medicines list, despite it being widely available.

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