Marla Ahlgrimm: COVID Protection From An Antipsychotic Drug?

Marla AhlgrimmScientists have been working diligently since the start of the pandemic to identify high-risk groups. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, people with mental illnesses fall in this category. However, some people that take antipsychotic drugs may actually enjoy some protection against the virus.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that people with mental illnesses, and specifically those in an institutionalized setting, such as a mental hospital or prison, are at a higher risk of contracting and dying from the COVID-19 virus. Many of these individuals also suffer with conditions that cause hallucinations; because of this, healthcare workers might think the person with COVID is imagining symptoms and will not test for the virus. Further, they are often unaware of risk factors and how to avoid exposure.

People with schizophrenia are often socially disadvantaged, in poor health, and, sadly, ignored by their healthcare providers when they mention a recurrent symptom. Marla Ahlgrimm says this makes these individuals a prime target for the virus.

A research study published in 2020 in Schizophrenia Research, a peer-reviewed medical journal, found that people that took certain antipsychotic drugs actually seem to have some level of protection against serious illness caused by COVID-19. Marla Ahlgrimm points out that antipsychotic drugs have been studied before as a treatment for other respiratory syndromes.

Marla AhlgrimmMarla Ahlgrimm explains that some antipsychotic drugs inhibit activation of some of the genes that are responsible for systemic inflammation. Inflammation aggravates virtually all illnesses.

Symptoms of the coronavirus often include a persistent, dry cough along with fatigue, congestion, and chills. The majority of individuals diagnosed with the condition recover within two weeks. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that, in the general population, about 2% of people experience extreme symptoms and a small group of these resulted in death. Among those taking antipsychotic drugs, there is a much lower positivity rate. The study found that approximately 4.1% of the general population tested positive for the virus – those taking a long acting injectable antipsychotic treatment tested positive just 1.3% of the time.

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