Antidepressant Prozac Is An Effective Anti-Viral, Researchers Find
The antidepressant Prozac may be an effective anti-viral medication, according to a new study, published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Researchers said the findings show Prozac, also known as fluoxetine, could be useful in treating a wide range of conditions.
Researchers found that Prozac inhibits a virus reproduction process called coxsackievirus replication, which a group of viruses called enteroviruses undergo. By inhibiting this process, the virus cannot reproduce and dies off.
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Enteroviruses are a group of more than 100 viruses responsible for such life-threatening infections as polio and encephalitis. While polio has been all but eradicated, no treatment for enteroviruses exist. Researchers said the findings warrant further research into how Prozac and other antidepressants could work as an anti-viral drug.
"The discovery of unexpected antiviral activity of fluoxetine is scientifically very significant and draws our attention to previously overlooked potential targets of fluoxetine and other psychogenic drugs," Robert Damoiseaux, scientific director of the Molecular Screening Shared Resource at the California NanoSystems Institute, said in a statement. "Part of our follow-up work will be the discovery of these unconventional targets for fluoxetine and other drugs of the same class and how these targets intersect with the known targets of this drug class."
Paul Krogstad, professor of pediatrics and molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the future research will also help better understand enteroviruses.
"[The findings] will add to our understanding of enterovirus replication and lead to assessment of their potential clinical utility for the future treatment of serious enterovirus infections," he said.
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