COVID update: OCD medication shown to improve symptoms of coronavirus

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A research team from the School of Medicine, in Missouri (USA), published an enlightening finding in the medical journal JAMA – OCD medication was shown to improve coronavirus symptoms.

It was noted that COVID-19 “may lead to serious illness as a result of an excessive immune response”.

Their aim was to investigate whether fluvoxamin – used to treat OCD – could prevent clinical deterioration of coronavirus infections.

Fluvoxamin is a “selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) and σ-1 receptor agonist”.

The σ-1 receptor is known to regulate cytokine production – an immune body response.

Thus, intrigue among researchers grew as fluvoxamin could influence the body’s immune system.

For their investigation, they recruited 152 participants from the St Louis metropolitan area from April 10, 2020, to August 5, 2020.

All outpatient participants had tested positive for COVID-19 and had symptom onset within seven days.

Those involved in the trial were randomly assigned to received 100mg of fluvoxamine or placebo, three times daily for 15 days.

Specifically, 80 participants received fluvoxamine and 72 received a placebo.

The researchers defined clinical deterioration of coronavirus symptoms as follows:

  • Shortness of breath, or hospitalisation for shortness of breath, or pneumonia;
  • And oxygen saturation of 92 percent or greater

Clinical deterioration occurred in zero of 80 patients in the fluvoxamine group.

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However in the placebo group, six out of 72 patients suffered from clinical deterioration of coronavirus symptoms.

This doesn’t mean the fluvoxamine group didn’t suffer from severe COVID-19 symptoms.

In fact, there was “one serious adverse event and 11 other adverse events”.

Meanwhile, the placebo group had “six adverse events and 12 other adverse events”.

Based on their findings, the researchers reached a particular conclusion.

They stated those treated with fluvoxamine, compared to placebo, had a “lower likelihood of clinical deterioration over 15 days”.

As with all research, there were limitations of the study that the researchers identified.

They noted that the study is limited by a “small sample size and short follow-up duration”.

They expressed: “Clinical efficacy would require larger randomised trials with more definitive out-come measures.”

As with all medication, side effects are a real possibility and must be noted.

The British National Formulary – a pharmaceutical reference book published by NICE – indicates vomiting could be a side effect from taking SSRIs.

Moreover, a person may be prone to dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth to constipation.

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