Fluvoxamine, a 40-year-old antidepressant drug, is currently being tested as a potential new early treatment for COVID-19.
According to a CBS News report, this drug might avert or stop severe lung impairment in COVID-19 patients. It is now being examined in an extensive randomized clinical trial in the United States and Canada.
The idea started with Dr. Angela Reiersen, a psychiatrist from Washington University, who was home sick with COVID-19 symptoms.
She was recovering then from the illness and thinking of ways to help herself and the other patients when she a study on mice and Fluvoxamine came to mind.
The antidepressant medication stopped sepsis in the mice, an immune system reaction believed to cause runaway inflammation that impairs organs and can be fatal. More so, it is perceived that the same response may take place in COVID-19 patients.
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Fluvoxamine as Antidepressant Drug
Drugs.com describes fluvoxamine, as seen on Netmeds.com's YouTube video below, like an SSRI or serotonin reuptake antidepressant. It affects chemicals found in the brain that may not be balanced in people suffering from obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
This medication is used to treat social anxiety disorder or social phobia, or obsessive-compulsive disorders that involve periodic thoughts or actions. This drug may be used for some other purposes not included in its list as part of the medication guide.
Potential COVID-19 Treatment
In early February when fluvoxamine was reported to have the potential to prevent people from getting seriously infected with COVID-19, reducing chances of hospitalization.
Specifically, results of a study published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases come from the actual use of the antidepressant medication, none had a sticker, and within 14 days, their symptoms vanished.
The same study found about 12.5 percent of people who declined the use of drugs got hospitalized to compare data. Two of them turned very ill, that they necessitated a ventilator for support with breathing. In addition, researchers of this February research also specified the death of one person.
In their work, researchers showed that the biochemistry of the drug inferred that it might be able to control cellular reactions to both stress and infection.
Moreover, as indicated in this said research, lab dish investigations described in Science in December 2020, that knocking down sigma-1 receptor levels in culture cells decreased infection rates with SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19-casing coronavirus type.
Essentially, fluvoxamine also blocks the platelets and blood components' activation, which is essential for clotting.
Ongoing Larger Clinical Trials
In a similar report, Daily News said, data require a confirmation from ongoing clinical trials. Nevertheless, according to some experts, new study findings, along with the animal, human, and cell observational data, propose that a 14-day course of this antidepressant drug, which costs roughly $10 and is already authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration or FDA could be considered for those at high risk of suffering severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Reiersen got in touch with Dr. Eric Lenze, another psychiatrist specializing in searching for new uses for drugs that the FDA already approved. Right away, he saw her reasoning.
Lenze said Reiersen presented quite a convincing and innovative case for Fluvoxamine. And it turns out, he added, there's a lot of these psychiatric drugs' properties like safety and ease for use, for one, not to mention, the fact that they can penetrate the body fast, making them ideal for repurposing.
Check out more news and information on COVID-19 on Science Times.