The results of the study were published in the JAMA Network Open.
The results add to a body of evidence showing that SSRIs may have beneficial effects on the worst symptoms of COVID-19, although large randomized clinical trials are needed to prove this.
“We can’t say if the drugs are causing these effects, but statistical analysis shows a significant link. The numbers have power,” he said. Marina Sirota, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and a member of the Bakar Institute for Computational Health Sciences (BCHSI) at UC San Francisco.
The UCSF-Stanford research team analyzed electronic health records from the Cerner Real World COVID-19 database, which contained data from nearly 500,000 patients across the United States. These included 83,584 adult patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in January-September 2020. Of these, 3,401 patients were prescribed SSRIs.
Due to the large size of the data, the researchers were able to compare the results of COVID-19 patients who received SSRIs with those of similar COVID-19 patients who did not use them, which teased the effects of age, gender, race, and ethnic background. and comorbidities associated with severe COVID-19, such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as other medications used by patients.
The results showed that patients taking fluoxetine were 28% less likely to die; those who used either fluoxetine or another SSRI called fluvoxamine were 26 percent less likely to die; the entire group of patients using any SSRI was 8 percent less likely to die than the corresponding patient controls.
Although the effects are smaller than those observed in recent clinical trials of new antiviral drugs developed by Pfizer and Merck, the researchers said more treatment options are still needed to end the pandemic.
“The results are encouraging. It is important to find as many alternatives as possible for the treatment of any disease. A particular drug or treatment may not work or is well tolerated. or for the treatment of other diseases, “he said Tomiko Oskotsky, MD, researcher at Sirota Laboratory, BCHSI.
Other authors include e.g. David K. Stevenson, MD, Ivana Maric, PhD, Ronald J Wong, PhD and Nima Aghaeepour, PhD, Stanford University; and Alice Tang and Boris Oskotsky, PhD, UCSF.
Source: The Nordic Page