According to a study, people who take certain antidepressants, namely SSRI, fluoxetine or fluvoxamine, might be less likely to lose their lives to COVID-19 in the case of an infection than those who do not take these specific drugs.
The research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Stanford University was published earlier this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Open, a peer reviewed publication.
As part of this study, the team of researchers gathered data on around half a million patients by using Cerner Real World COVID-19 de-identified database health records.
83,584 of them were adults who tested positive for COVID-19 between January and September of 2020, 3,401 of whom were also prescribed antidepressants.
What they were able to discover was that those who got prescribed fluoxetine were 28% less likely to pass away from COVID related complications than other patients who were not taking them.
More precisely, fluoxetine or fluvoxamine users were 26% less likely to die while those who used SSRI were 8% less liked to die.
According to a research leader for the study, these numbers show a “significant association” between SSRIs and lower COVID-19 mortality rates, but the UCSF also mentioned that it’s not exactly clear whether or not the medication is what directly influenced these results.
If so, however, these findings are likely to impact future studies into creating or redirecting already existing medication against COVID-19.
A research scientist, Tomiko Oskotsky, MD, shared via UCSF that “The results are encouraging. It’s vital to find as many options as possible for treating a condition. A particular drug or a treatment may not work or it may not be well tolerated by everyone. Data from medical records allows us to quickly look into existing drugs that could be repurposed for treating COVID-19 or other conditions.”