Taking antidepressants from the group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) significantly reduces the risk of death from coronavirus infection, JAMA Network Open reported.
Experts from the University of California and Stanford analyzed the anonymized data of electronic medical records of 500,000 patients in the United States. 83,500 of them were found to have COVID-19 between January and September 2020. Of this number, 3400 people were prescribed SSRIs.
The researchers compared the outcomes of COVID-19 in those taking such drugs with COVID-19 patients in the control group, who were matched according to age, gender, nationality and the presence of comorbidities.
It turned out that the risk of dying in those taking fluoxetine was 28% less than in the control group. Those taking fluoxetine or fluvoxamine, another SSRI, had a 26% lower risk. Overall, taking any SSRI was associated with an eight percent reduction in the risk of death from coronavirus infection.
Large-scale randomized clinical trials are needed to be confident about the benefits of this group of antidepressants in COVID-19, the researchers said.