The Weekly Mind Reader: Psych Drugs Can Treat COVID

by Staff Writer
March 24, 2023 at 11:15 AM UTC

minor ear anomalies are more common in people with depressive order.

Psychotropic drugs consistently arise from a broader scope of practice, so it is not surprising that many are repurposed for non-psychiatric indications. This week, The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry published a narrative review taking a look at fluvoxamine, a little known OCD drug, to see if it can effectively treat COVID.

Researchers have long suspected that fluvoxamine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), possesses anti-inflammatory properties. In one University of Washington trial reviewed in the narrative, patients who were given the drug within seven days of developing COVID symptoms were less likely to experience clinical deterioration or require hospitalization compared to patients who were given a placebo. The medication didn’t reduce symptoms, but the researchers concluded that it may have prevented severe illness.

The JCP narrative goes on to detail a list of drugs that show promise in treating other chronic conditions including long COVID, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. 

The available results are encouraging, but plenty of drugs have fizzled out after showing early potential, the narrative authors said, adding, “…promising candidate drugs must be tested in RCTs to gain sufficient evidence for widespread adoption, including regulators’ approving these drugs for new uses.” 

You can read the full study here



  • The ENLIGHTEN-Early Study evaluated the weight gain effects of combination olanzapine and samidorphan (OLZ/SAM) versus olanzapine in early-phase schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder. The results could help avoid expanding patients’ waistlines more than necessary. This JCP paper is free to access.
  • If you have ever been unsure about which aspects of an acute psychosis evaluation are the most likely to yield meaningful information, the case report outlined in the latest edition of Rounds in the General Hospital should prove useful.
  • A recent The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders analysis took a hard look at the economic burden faced by adults with ADHD. Patients who don’t take medication had more doctor visits and hospital stays than those taking medication. They also spent at least twice as much money on their healthcare.
  • You may be happy about the impending end of the COVID emergency that was declared more than three years ago. But some changes to federal regulations are pending that could make it harder to practice psychiatry.
  • Looking ahead to next week, a case study follows a man with late-onset OCD who experienced recurrent religious obsessions. What’s going on here?
  • And finally, in our “Tweet of the Week,” the cast of the wildly popular TV show Ted Lasso visited the White House to raise awareness for the importance of mental health.


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Original Research

A Fully Remote Randomized Trial of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation for the Acute Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

Rapid improvement in depression was associated with tACS, particularly for women. Patients can use tACS treatment on their own at home, and it is associated with minimal adverse events.

Philip R. Gehrman and others

Rounds in the General Hospital

Caring for Traumatized Elders: Lessons Learned From Trauma-Informed Care

Patients with a history of trauma may experience heightened anxiety and fear when faced with medical settings, examinations, or treatments.

Dominique Popescu and others