Fluvoxamine for the Early Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Review of Current Evidence

Shelley N. Facente, Angela M. Reiersen, Eric J. Lenze, David R. Boulware, Jeffrey D. Klausner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abstract: SARS-CoV-2 infection causes COVID-19, which frequently leads to clinical deterioration and/or long-lasting morbidity. Academic and governmental experts throughout the USA met in 2021 to discuss the potential for use of fluvoxamine as early treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is a strong sigma-1 receptor agonist, and this may effectively reduce cytokine production, preventing clinical deterioration. This repurposed psychiatric medication has a well-known safety record, is inexpensive, easy to use, and widely available, all of which are advantages during this global COVID-19 pandemic. At the meeting, experts reviewed the existing published literature on the use of fluvoxamine as experimental COVID-19 treatment, as well as prior research on the potential mechanisms for anti-inflammatory effects of fluvoxamine, including for other conditions including sepsis. Investigators shared current trials underway and existing gaps in knowledge. Two randomized controlled trials and one observational study examining the effect of fluvoxamine in COVID-19 treatment have found high efficacy. Four larger randomized clinical trials are currently underway, including three in the USA and Canada. More data are needed on dosing and mechanisms of effect; however, fluvoxamine appears to have substantial potential as a safe and widely available medication that could be repurposed to ameliorate serious COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality. As of April 2021, fluvoxamine was mentioned in the NIH COVID-19 treatment guidelines, although no recommendation is made for or against use. Available data may warrant clinician discussion of fluvoxamine as a treatment option for COVID-19, using shared decision making. [MediaObject not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2081-2089
Number of pages9
JournalDrugs
Volume81
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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