Medscape: Analysis boosts Fluvoxamine for COVID, but what's the evidence?

UC expert says research may be useful, but more trials are needed

A report published recently in JAMA Open Network finds there's a strong likelihood that the antidepressant fluvoxamine (Luvox) may moderately lower rates of hospitalization due to COVID-19 in unvaccinated patients. However, outside experts cited by Medscape differ over whether the evidence from just three studies is strong enough to warrant adding the drug to the COVID-19 treatment arsenal. One of those experts sources is Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine. 

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Joe Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand

"This research might be valuable, but the jury remains out until several other adequately powered and designed trials are completed," said Fichtenbaum, who's familiar with the findings. "I'm not sure how useful this is given we have several antiviral agents available. Why would we choose this over Paxlovid, remdesivir, or molnupiravir?"

According to Fichtenbaum, researchers began focusing on fluvoxamine after case reports about patients improving while on the medication. This led to further interest, he said, boosted by the drug's known ability to dampen the immune system.

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