GREENSBORO, N.C. — What if there were a magic remedy to cure COVID -- something that is already on the market for a condition totally unrelated? It sure would be a gamechanger in this relentless COVID-19 pandemic.
Going on year three of COVID-19, we have vaccines, two FDA-approved COVID pills and monoclonal antibody treatments.
But, the latter of the two options are hard to get for most Americans suffering from acute symptoms.
Viewer Joel asked, "Is Fluvoxamine a verified COVID therapeutic?"
For context, Fluvoxamine is an SSRI approved by the FDA to treat mental health conditions, like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression. Can it also treat COVID?
- National Institutes of Health
- Washington University School of Medicine clinical trial - JAMA Network
- Cynthia Snider, MD - Cone Health (infectious diseases)
The claim is false. Fluvoxamine is not a verified COVID therapeutic, at least not yet.
WHAT WE FOUND
Infectious diseases physician Cynthia Snider, MD, acknowledged she has heard the discussion of Fluvoxamine's potential use as a COVID treatment but is leery about its effectiveness.
"It's used for a gamut of mental health situations, but that probably would not be the first and foremost drug I would use. I would ask that your provider refer you to your local monoclonal antibody clinic that could see if you would qualify for that," she said.
Snider mentioned there is also the antiviral drug Remdesivir and both Merck's and Pfizer's pills, Molnupiravir and Paxlovid, respectively. So far, there is no FDA approval for Fluvoxamine for COVID.
The Washington University study looked at 152 patients who had COVID and were experiencing shortness of breath or pneumonia and needed supplemental oxygen. The results concluded patients who took Fluvoxamine showed less clinical deterioration over 15 days than patients who took a placebo, but the study noted the need for more research with longer, randomized trials.
The National Institutes of Health agreed with the conclusion of that study and others. The agency emphasized there is "insufficient evidence" to recommend either for or against the use of Fluvoxamine as a treatment for COVID, and it is not FDA-approved for treating any infection.
So, while it does show some promise in several clinical trials, the recommendation now is to use Fluvoxamine only as prescribed by a doctor for its intended purpose.
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