Antidepressant cuts risk of long hospital stays in Covid cases, trial shows

London, Oct 27 (EFE).- Treating Covid-19 with fluvoxamine, an antidepressant used to medicate severe depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, reduces the risk of prolonged hospitalisation for high-risk patients, according to a study published by The Lancet Wednesday.

The results are from the new randomised clinical trial TOGETHER which showed that using fluvoxamine to treat high-risk outpatients with early-diagnosed Covid-19 reduced the need for prolonged observation in the emergency department or hospitalisation.

The TOGETHER trial kicked off in June 2020 to test the efficacy of eight different treatments including fluvoxamine, which was administered in January 2021 to a group of Covid-positive, symptomatic, unvaccinated and high-risk Brazilian outpatients.

A total of 741 participants were treated with 100 milligrams of the drug twice a day for 10 days while 756 received placebo doses.

After 28 days of observation, only 10.6% of those given the drug required treatment for six hours in an “emergency unit” or were hospitalized compared to 15.7% of those given the placebo.

The results demonstrate an absolute reduction in the risk of prolonged hospitalisation or emergency care of 5% with a relative risk reduction of 32%, the report specified.

“Recent vaccination developments and campaigns have proved to be effective and important in reducing the number of new symptomatic cases, hospitalisations, and deaths due to COVID-19.

“However, Covid-19 still poses a risk to individuals in countries with low resources and limited access to vaccinations,” Dr Edward Mills of McMaster University, co-principal investigator on the trial, said.

“Identifying inexpensive, widely available, and effective therapies against Covid-19 is therefore of great importance, and repurposing existing medications that are widely available and have well-understood safety profiles is of particular interest,” he added.

Fluvoxamine was chosen as a potential Covid-19 treatment due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Although mortality was not a primary objective of the study, in a secondary analysis of patients who took at least 80% of the doses, there was one death in the fluvoxamine group, compared to 12 in the placebo group. EFE


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