Study: Zoloft Fights Fungal Infection
Zoloft, the commonly prescribed antidepressant, can also help defeat a serious fungal infection, according to new research.
C. Neoformans, the fungus that causes the infection, is found worldwide in soil. It lodges in the lungs and may also cause infections of the central nervous system. People with lowered immune systems are especially vulnerable, and in its most serious state, C. Neoformans can lead to the potentially fatal condition of cryptococcal meningitis. That illness kills one million people worldwide every year.
Until now, fungal infections of the central nervous system have been very difficult to treat, because the drugs that have been used could not penetrate tissue.
Zoloft, also known as Sertraline, is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant worldwide. The researchers at Texas A&M University who did the study cited the cost savings that could come from using it.
“The point here is that if there is a drug that already exists, is known to be well-tolerated and has alternative uses, that’s a good thing,” researcher Matthew S. Sachs said in a statement. “The billion dollars it would take to bring a drug to the market — that’s already done.”
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, was published in the journal “Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.”