SSRIs Are Associated With a Decreased Risk of Death From COVID-19

Individuals taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, particularly fluoxetine (Prozac), were less likely to die of the virus than those in a matched control group, study results show.

Individuals taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), particularly fluoxetine (Prozac), were associated with significantly less likely risk of death from COVID-19 than those in a matched control group, results of a large analysis by the University of California at San Francisco show.

"It's important to find as many options as possible for treating any condition. A particular drug or treatment may not work or be well tolerated by everyone. Data from electronic medical records allow us to quickly look into existing drugs that could be repurposed for treating COVID-19 or other conditions,” Tomiko Oskotsky, MD, a research scientist Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute (BCHSI) at US San Francisco, said in a statement.

The results show those taking fluoxetine were 28% less likely to die from COVID-19 and those taking fluoxetine or fluvoxamine were 26% less likely to die. The entire group of individuals taking any kind of SSRI were 8% less likely to die than individuals in the matched control group.

Investigators analyzed electronic health records from the Cerner Real World COVID-19 de-identified database and included 83,584 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 between January 2020 and September 2020. Of those, 3401 individuals were prescribed SSRIs.

They compared the outcomes of individuals with COVID-19 on SSRIs with those who were not taking them, which helped investigators account for age, sex, race, ethnicity, and comorbidities associated with severe COVID-19 and account for individuals also taking other medications.

Reference

COVID patients on SSRI antidepressants are less likely to die, study finds. News release. November 15, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/11/211115123538.htm