RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Researchers at Duke University have knocked down another off-label COVID-19 treatment. This time, it’s an inhaler some believed could help treat mild to moderate infection.

The study, led by the Duke Clinical Research Institute in partnership with Vanderbilt University, found no symptomatic or clinical benefit to taking fluticasone furoate. 

“There was no evidence of improvement in time to recovery or reduction in hospitalizations in participants who took fluticasone furoate versus those who took a placebo,” said Adrian Hernandez, M.D., the study’s administrative principal investigator and executive director of the DCRI. 

The study is part of the ACTIV-6 trials. It looks to evaluate how already existing medications could be repurposed for COVID-19.

Fluticasone furoate was one of three FDA-approved repurposed medications tested in ACTIV-6. It is an orally inhaled corticosteroid used for asthma in patients five years and older. It was chosen for the study because inhaled corticosteroids had shown potential for treating COVID-19 in the outpatient setting. Ultimately, it was found ineffective for treating symptoms of the virus.

Just last month, researchers concluded no benefit to taking Ivermectin, a horse-deworming drug some people were using to treat symptoms of COVID.

The study also examined the benefits to anti-depressant fluvoxamine. Earlier this year, the FDA rejected an application for emergency use authorization of the drug. In a published memo, the administration said, “The treatment benefit of fluvoxamine was not persuasive when focusing on clinically meaningful outcomes such as proportion of patients experiencing hospitalizations or hospitalizations and deaths.”

During the fluticasone furoate study, participants either took a dose of 200 mcg per day of fluticasone or used a matching placebo inhaler for 14 days. 

“No safety concerns were identified in this arm of the study, confirming that fluticasone furoate is safe to take as prescribed per the FDA for the treatment of asthma or other approved conditions,” said Susanna Naggie, M.D., the DCRI principal investigator overseeing the study’s clinical coordinating center. “