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A common treatment for parasitic infections failed to help COVID-19 patients avoid hospitalization

What impact, if any, did the New England Journal of Medicine study show in regards to fluvoxamine and metformin stopping severe disease?

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According to a recent study, the diabetes medication metformin, the contentious antimalarial drug ivermectin, and the often given antidepressant fluvoxamine all failed to stop the severe COVID-19 that necessitates an ER visit or hospitalization.

The study, which was released on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, investigated which of the three drugs helped 1,323 patients when they were given them in the early stages of a COVID-19 infection. Most were immunized, all were overweight, and some individuals in the trial received a combination of metformin and fluvoxamine or metformin and ivermectin. University of Minnesota researchers ran the Phase 3 randomized, placebo-controlled study from December 2020 to January of this year.

According to a home oxygen monitor, experiencing low oxygen levels was the study’s primary outcome. According to Dr. Carolyn Bramonte, the study’s principal investigator and an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School, none of the medications had any effect on this outcome.

Hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen levels, is frequently to blame for COVID-19 patients’ need for ER care, hospitalization, or even death.

People who tested positive for the virus but were not yet sick enough to go to the hospital had no access to approved medicines until the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s antiviral Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio in late 2021. Repurposed medications have long held a special allure for regulators and physicians alike due to their affordability, accessibility, and decades of safety data, even among youngsters and pregnant women.

Each of the three generic drugs has been suggested as a potential COVID-19 treatment, but ivermectin has received the most attention. This is despite the drug’s well-known problems with the poor science that, in some cases, exaggerated its advantages. However, none have up to this point proven in thorough clinical trials that they actually aid in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Ivermectin did not shorten the duration of symptoms in COVID-19 patients with mild-to-moderate disease, according to the results of a long-awaited double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial undertaken by Duke University School of Medicine and supported by the United States. The medicine did not lower hospitalizations or deaths, according to the same study.

Based on an earlier set of trial findings, several of the same University of Minnesota researchers sought the FDA to approve fluvoxamine as a COVID-19 medication last year. This spring, the regulator turned down the emergency authorisation request, stating that the data did not support the drug’s efficacy in treating COVID-19.

The study’s findings may have one advantage, at least for metformin. Despite the fact that the medication has no effect on hypoxemia, when the researchers examined the study’s secondary endpoints, they discovered that metformin reduced ER visits, hospitalization, or mortality by 40%. However, the researchers state that more research must be done before doctors can start recommending metformin to their COVID-19 patients.

We are quite pleased that our research is advancing our understanding of this virus pandemic, added Bramonte. “At this stage, there might be doctors who see our findings and think that metformin offers simple therapies for some patients. However, I believe that additional research is required if these findings are to be replicated as a study’s main finding.