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Prozac, which has been used for years to keep people and pets happy, now has a surprising new use.Researchers at UCLA have found that fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, shows promise as an anti-viral agent.
The UCLA team used molecular screening to determine that Prozac inhibited enteroviruses, the strands that most commonly get humans sick. Diseases resulting from these viruses include polio, meningitis and hand, foot and mouth disease.
Fluoxetine greatly reduced the replication of the viruses. There aren’t currently any anti-viral treatments for enteroviruses, the researchers wrote. Once infected, humans are more susceptible to other diseases and chronic illnesses.
Robert Damoiseaux, a director of the study, said the researchers’ next aim is to figure out how Prozac interacts with current treatments. They published a study in the American Society For Microbiology.
Prozac is commonly used to treat anxiety, depression and personality disorders. The centres For Disease Control And Prevention estimate that 11 per cent of Americans take antidepressants.
Fluoxetine is also one of the 10 most-prescribed drugs in the United States.
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