Fluvoxamine can prevent COVID-19 from developing life-threatening conditions

The inexpensive drug works by suppressing the body’s natural defenses

An inexpensive, oral, generic antidepressant, fluvoxamine, could prevent COVID-19 from becoming a life-threatening condition, according to study results led by Edward Mills, PhD, FRCP, and researchers at McMaster University, Toronto, Canada.

The TOGETHER Randomized Platform Clinical Trial evaluated the drug in 3,238 Brazilian patients with COVID-19 symptoms who were at risk of disease progression.1

Background

For 10 days, patients were randomly assigned to fluvoxamine 100 mg, placebo, or other treatments twice daily. The primary outcomes were emergency room observation for more than 6 hours or hospitalization up to 28 days after the randomization. Secondary outcomes included viral clearance at day 7, death, and adverse reactions.1

Of the patients, 739 received fluvoxamine, while the rest received placebo or other treatments including hydroxychloroquine, lopivinar/ritovinar, metformin, ivermectin, doxazosin, and interferon lambda.1

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Outcomes

Investigators noted that among the individuals who received fluvoxamine, the risk of hospital admission or emergency room observation for over 6 hours was lower than those who received a placebo. Investigators said that the use of fluvoxamine did not cause significant adverse effects.1

The study results revealed that fluvoxamine was the only drug that prevented COVID-19 patients from developing severe disease. The other treatments were not able to do so. Fluvoxamine cost about $4 for one 10-day treatment.1

Researchers concluded, “Treatment with fluvoxamine (100 mg twice daily for 10 days) among high-risk outpatients with early diagnosed COVID-19 reduced the need for extended emergency room observation or hospitalization.”1

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Reference

1. Reis G, Moreira Silva EADS, Medeiros Silva DC, et al. Effect of early treatment with hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir and ritonavir on risk of hospitalization among patients With COVID-19: the TOGETHER randomized clinical trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(4):e216468. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.6468