In the last days of 2019, several cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology were reported to the World Health Organization in Wuhan, China, the cause of which was confirmed to be the Coronaviridae family a week later and is now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2 better known as COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect people around the world, researchers are exploring different ways to prevent and treat the symptoms of post-COVID syndrome. A clinical trial investigated the safety and effectiveness of fluvoxamine in treating neuropsychiatric symptoms of post-COVID syndrome in mild to moderate COVID-19 patients.
Shortly after the pandemic began, researchers noted the persistence of some of the symptoms including fatigue, headache, and dyspnea even after recovery. These symptoms were labeled as post-covid syndrome (PCS). PCS is defined as conditions with a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems that patients experience after COVID-19 infection.
PCS can be present in up to 50–70% of admitted patients even after several months. Neuropsychological manifestations of PCS such as anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, dizziness, headache, and fatigue, have a considerable impact on a patient’s quality of life and can last for months.
Clinical TrialA clinical trial has found that the antidepressant drug fluvoxamine may be effective in preventing neuropsychiatric symptoms of post-COVID syndrome in mild to moderate patients.
Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant drug that is commonly used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. It works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain, which can help to regulate mood and reduce anxiety.
The trial involved 85 patients with PCR-proven COVID-19 infection. 42 patients were given fluvoxamine, while 43 patients were given a placebo (a dummy pill). These patients were evaluated after 12 weeks for the presence of fatigue and other PCS symptoms.
ResultsResearchers found that the patients who had received fluvoxamine were significantly less likely to develop fatigue than those who had received the placebo. However, no significant differences were observed between the two groups for other neuropsychiatric symptoms.
The findings are significant because neuropsychiatric symptoms such as fatigue are common in post-COVID syndrome and can be very debilitating. By preventing these symptoms, fluvoxamine may be able to improve the quality of life for people who have recovered from COVID-19.
ConclusionThis clinical trial has found that the antidepressant drug fluvoxamine may be effective in preventing symptoms of post-COVID syndrome in mild to moderate patients. This clinical study provides hope for people who are recovering from COVID-19 and experiencing neuropsychiatric symptoms such as fatigue. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it may be worth discussing fluvoxamine with a healthcare professional.
BMC Infectious Diseases Journal, Mar-31-23