A study published online in JAMA claimed that people infected with COVID-19 who were already taking SSRI antidepressants were at a lower likelihood of dying from the virus.
The study began by analyzing the electronic health records of nearly 500,000 patients within the United States. At least 80,000 adult patients infected with COVID-19 took part in the study.
“This retrospective cohort study used propensity score matching by demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and medication indication to compare SSRI-treated patients with matched control patients not treated with SSRIs within a large EHR database representing a diverse population of 83,584 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 from January to September 2020 and with a duration of follow-up of as long as 8 months in 87 health care centers across the US,” the study’s authors explained in the JAMA report.
After assessing the SSRI drug fluoxetine, researchers learned that 28 percent of patients with COVID-19 were less likely to experience death. The reduction was also observed among patients taking fluvoxamine.
“These results support evidence that SSRIs may be associated with reduced severity of COVID-19 reflected in the reduced RR of mortality,” according to the study’s authors.
“Further research and randomized clinical trials are needed to elucidate the effect of SSRIs generally, or more specifically of fluoxetine and fluvoxamine, on the severity of COVID-19 outcomes.”