The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.
Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.
- Researchers from Canada, the U.S. and Brazil honed in on the drug for its anti-inflammatory properties for the study, published in the journal Lancet Global Health.
For the record: Fluvoxamine was approved by the FDA in the 1990s to treat obsessive compulsive disorder.
The big picture: Participants with an early COVID-19 diagnosis were given 100 mg of the drug twice daily for 10 days. Those in the control group were given a placebo.
- The clinical trial looked at nearly 1,500 people in Brazil. Among the participants who were given Fluvoxamine, the rate of hospitalization decreased by a third, according to the study.
- Among the participants who followed through with the fluvoxamine protocol, only one patient in the fluvoxamine died, compared to 12 in the control group.
What they’re saying: University of Minnesota infectious disease scientist Dr. David Boulware, who conducted his own study of the drug in coronavirus patients, told the New York Times: “It’s not a shiny new, expensive drug. The nice thing about this is it has a known safety profile.”
Go deeper: Merck says COVID pill prevents 50% of deaths, hospitalizations