A new study confirms the effectiveness of an antidepressant drug against...

A study published Thursday showed that the use of the antidepressant fluvoxamine to treat severely ill Covid-19 patients may reduce an average of a third of their need for long-term hospitalization.

The study’s authors said this research could help boost protection against severe COVID-19 symptoms at low cost or even death in vaccine-deficient countries.

Fluvoxamine is used to treat mental illnesses such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and was selected for trials because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Many of the problems caused by COVID-19 are caused by swelling due to an overreaction of the immune system against infection.

And researchers from North and South America published in the journal “The Lancet Public Health” the results of experiments in which 1,500 people with Covid-19 participated in Brazil. Of the 741 people who received fluvoxamine, 79 patients, or only 10 percent, needed to stay in hospital for treatment.

The researchers pointed out that the administration of fluvoxamine led to a relative decrease in hospitalizations by 32 percent.

“Covid-19 continues to pose a risk to people in countries with low resources or with limited vaccines,” said Edward Mills of McMaster University, one of the trial staff.

“Therefore, it is of particular importance to identify inexpensive, accessible and effective treatments against COVID-19, and to reintroduce widely available drugs with a well-understood safety record is also of particular importance,” he added.

Although the study did not mainly target the issue of reducing mortality, it did find that 12 patients from the trials who received a placebo died, while one patient from the group given fluvoxamine died.

The study stressed the need for further evaluation, because fluvoxamine is not on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines and can be addictive.

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