November 16, 2021

Study: COVID-19 patients on SSRI antidepressants less likely to die

Editor's Note

This study from the University of California San Francisco-Stanford finds that COVID-19 patients taking SSRI antidepressants, particularly fluoxetine, were significantly less likely to die from the disease.

The research team analyzed electronic health records (EHRs) from 87 healthcare centers across the US. Of 83,584 adult patients diagnosed with COVID-19 between January and September 2020, 3,401 were prescribed SSRIs.

Results showed that:

  • Patients taking fluoxetine were 28% less likely to die.
  • Those taking either fluoxetine or another SSRI, fluvoxamine, were 26% less likely to die.
  • All study patients taking any kind of SSRI were 8% less likely to die than matched controls.

Data from EHRs allow researchers to quickly look into existing drugs that could be repurposed for treating COVID-19 or other conditions, the authors say.

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