Medications Modulating the Acid Sphingomyelinase/Ceramide System and 28-Day Mortality among Patients with SARS-CoV-2: An Observational Study
Prior evidence indicates the potential central role of the acid sphingomyelinase (ASM)/ceramide system in the infection of cells with SARS-CoV-2. We conducted a multicenter retrospective observational study including 72,105 adult patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who were admitted to 36 AP-HP (Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Paris) hospitals from 2 May 2020 to 31 August 2022. We examined the association between the ongoing use of medications functionally inhibiting acid sphingomyelinase (FIASMA), which reduces the infection of cells with SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, upon hospital admission with 28-day all-cause mortality in a 1:1 ratio matched analytic sample based on clinical characteristics, disease severity and other medications (N = 9714). The univariate Cox regression model of the matched analytic sample showed that FIASMA medication use at admission was associated with significantly lower risks of 28-day mortality (HR = 0.80; 95% CI = 0.72–0.88; p < 0.001). In this multicenter observational study, the use of FIASMA medications was significantly and substantially associated with reduced 28-day mortality among adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19. These findings support the continuation of these medications during the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) are needed to confirm these results, starting with the molecules with the greatest effect size in the study, e.g., fluoxetine, escitalopram, and amlodipine.