September 06, 2021
I work well against depression, but what about COVID-19?
What molecule am I?
Image of Fluvoxamine 3D Image of Fluvoxamine

Fluvoxamine is an old-line antidepressant that inhibits uptake of serotonin, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine. As a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluvoxamine is effective against major depression as well as obsessive–compulsive, anxiety, panic, and post-traumatic stress disorders.

Fluvoxamine was developed in the mid-1970s by a subsidiary of the Belgian chemical company Solvay. In a 1978 patent1, inventors Hendricus B. A. Antonius and Volkert Claassen described its mode of action. It was marketed under the trade names Luvox and Floxyfral, among others, and is now available as a generic. It is most often formulated as its maleate salt2.

Fluvoxamine has shown anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it has been investigated as a treatment for COVID-19. In a 2020 clinical trial that involved 152 nonhospitalized adults with mild COVID-19, Eric. J. Lenze and coauthors at Washington University in St. Louis reported statistically significant less clinical deterioration in subjects treated with the drug than subjects treated with placebo.

An April 2021 report from the National Institutes of Health, however, declared the results inconclusive because of the small size of the study. NIH’s recommendation: “Results from adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted clinical trials are needed to provide more specific, evidence-based guidance on the role of fluvoxamine for the treatment of COVID-19.”

1. US Patent 4,085,225.
2. CAS Registry No. 61718-82-9.

Fluvoxamine hazard information*

Hazard class**GHS code and hazard statement
Acute toxicity, oral, category 4H302—Harmful if swallowedChemical Safety Warning
Sensitization, skin, category 1H317—May cause an allergic skin reactionChemical Safety Warning
Serious eye damage/eye irritation, category 2AH319—Causes serious eye irritationChemical Safety Warning

*Compilation of two safety data sheets.
**Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.  

Explanation of pictograms.

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Fluvoxamine fast facts

CAS Reg. No.54739-18-3
1-Pentanone, 5-methoxy-1-[4-(trifluoromethyl)
phenyl]-, O-(2-aminoethyl)
oxime, (1E)-
Empirical formulaC15H21F3N2O2
Molar mass318.33 g/mol
AppearanceWhite crystals or powder
Melting point120–122 °C
Water solubility<1 g/L
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