Anti-Depressant Could Reduce COVID-19-Linked Respiratory Symptoms, Study Finds

November 16, 2020

A small U.S. study found that the anti-depressant fluvoxamine may have potential as a treatment for COVID-19 patients with breathing problems.

The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) prescribed for depression, social anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders, fluvoxamine is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

The clinical trial enrolled 152 participants with mild COVID-19 infections and found that none of the 80 participants given the SSRI saw an increase in breathing difficulties while six of the 72 participants who received only a placebo experienced worsening of respiratory symptoms, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., reported in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Lead researcher Eric Lenze of the university’s Healthy Mind Lab said the team hopes to conduct a larger follow-up study.

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