[Originally published: February 2, 2021. Due to new information from FDA Updated: October 2, 2021.]
Ivermectin facts and treatment of COVID-19 look objectively at the efficacy and safety of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19. The major goal is to examine facts about Ivermectin treatment of COVID-19 through the perceptions of science, health agencies, and physicians.
How Ivermectin Came Into the Picture
Researchers were motivated by the high fatality of COVID-19 to find a new drug, or ‘repurposed’ existing drug, to treat the virus infection. So, when the Australian April 2020 positive research results on Ivermectin surfaced, it made headline news. Before long, Ivermectin, an existing antiparasitic used to treat river blindness, is being prescribed off-label to treat COVID-19, in some parts of the world.
Now here is the problem! The key requisites for approving a drug for population use are efficacy and safety. The process for approval is a long and highly regulated process. Most importantly, the drug must be placed under randomised clinical trials before a global use of Ivermectin is adopted.
Earlier Research Trials Findings On Ivermectin
In April 2020, Australian researchers showed Ivermectin could stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from multiplying in animal cells under a microscope. But the finding was not sufficient to prove the medicine will work against COVID-19 in humans. Therefore, researchers advised more clinical trials for two reasons. First, to see if Ivermectin works on the SARS-Cov-2 in humans. Second, to determine if there’s a safe effective dose.
So pending clinical trials commissioning, FDA warned consumers not to self-medicate with Ivermectin products intended for animals. However, the little positive result from the April study encouraged some physicians to prescribe Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment, despite side effects. The major argument for using Ivermectin was the absence of many alternatives and the urgency to save lives.
Between June and October 2020, another study evaluated Ivermectin, along with standard care, in the treatment of mild/moderate and severely ill cases with COVID 19. The result again showed improvement in symptoms such as the disappearance of fever, fatigue, oxygen. As well as reduction of recovery time, hospital stay days and mortality rate.
But on 14 January 2021, FDA cautioned on any potential use of ivermectin in COVID-19 cases without further exploration under larger clinical trials, saying
Ivermectin is not FDA-approved for the treatment of any viral infection. In general, the drug is well tolerated. It is currently being evaluated as a potential treatment for COVID-19NIH, 14 January 2021
FDA Finally Issued A Warning Against Use of Ivermectin
Eight months later, on 3 September 2021, FDA issued final warning against ivermectin. The Agency gave reasons why you should not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19. And went further to highlight what you need to know about Ivermectin:
What Exactly Is Ivermectin?
Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat people with intestinal parasitic worms. In addition, some topical forms of ivermectin are approved to treat external parasites like head lice. And for skin conditions such as rosacea.
In addition, some forms of animal ivermectin are approved to prevent heartworm disease and treat certain internal and external parasites. It’s important to note that these products are different from the ones for people. And safe only when used in animals as prescribed.
When Taking Ivermectin Is Not Safe
The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 in people or animals. This is because ivermectin has not been shown to be safe or effective for these indications.
But unfortunately, there’s still much misinformation around. For instance, telling you it’s alright to take large doses of ivermectin. It is certainly not okay.
As a matter of fact, the levels of ivermectin for approved human uses can interact with other medications, like blood-thinners. There is also the possibility for you to overdose on ivermectin. The result will be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness. Equally, are problems with balance, seizures, coma, and even death.
Options For Treating COVID-19
In closing this article, Ivermectin facts and treatment of COVID-19, the drug has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 in people or animals.
Therefore, for now, the most effective ways to reduce being infected by COVID-19 include getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you and following current COVID-19 guidelines.
Also, talk to your health care provider about available COVID-19 vaccines and treatment options. Your provider can help determine the best option for you, based on your health history.
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