People are getting sick from a horse dewormer thinking it’s a cure for COVID.
Ivermectin, an anti-parasite, was one of several drugs that were quickly reviewed by medical professionals for reuse.global pandemic. Some doctors who gave ivermectin to infected patients saw positive effects. However, more studies show that it has little or no effect when it comes to treating COVID-19.
In recent weeks, there has been a dramatic increase in people calling poison centers in Mississippi, Oklahoma and Alabama who are taking ivermectin for animals. Meanwhile, emergency rooms are seeing more patients who have taken an overdose of a version of the drug intended as a horse anthelmintic. The drug continues to make the following headlines.
On the one hand, there are some doctors who say that ivermectin could help reduce the epidemic if used globally. On the other hand are public health officials who have reviewed the data and say the drug’s effectiveness against COVID-19 is not conclusive.
Here’s what you need to know about ivermectin and its use for COVID-19.
What is ivermectin?
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug “that works by altering cellular channels,” said Dr. Soumi Echempati, CEO of Cleared4 and former professor of surgery and public health at Weill Cornell Medical College. The drug prevents certain viruses from infecting cells, thus stopping the virus from spreading. According to Eachampati, Ivermectin is commonly given to treat parasitic infestations from lice and Strongyloides.
Scientists at pharmaceutical giant Merck discovered ivermectin in 1975 and began using it in 1981 to treat scabies, river blindness and other parasitic diseases. It is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines for the basic health care system. More than 250 million people worldwide take the drug each year, and it is effective for animals as well. The researcher who developed ivermectin received the Nobel Prize for his work in 2015.
The drug is considered safe when taken in the appropriate dosage. The side effects of ivermectin depend on whether it is taken orally to treat intestinal infections or topically for skin infections. Oral tablets can cause drowsiness, nausea, vomiting and, in very rare cases, increased heart rate and seizures. Side effects of topical ivermectin can include skin rash and burning, while dry skin and stinging pain are severe and rare.
Can Ivermectin be used to cure COVID-19?
This is where things get complicated. Public health agencies, including the Federal Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, do not recommend the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. They cite a lack of data from large, randomized trials confirming the drug’s effectiveness for treating the disease.
Some doctors who cite several small studies and direct experience say otherwise. They claim that ivermectin works to prevent people from developing symptoms of Kovid-19 and can reduce the time taken for those already infected to recover.
What do health agencies say about ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment?
The discussion is not new. The FDA said back in March that it had not approved the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. It warned that large doses of the drug “are dangerous and can cause serious harm.” The agency also advised against human use of ivermectin produced for animals such as cows and horses, as the dosages are not the same and may contain ingredients meant for animals only.
However, as the Delta version hit another wave of the pandemic this summer, a growing number of people began taking ivermectin for animals, as word spread on social media about the drug’s potential use against COVID-19. had gone. Apparently they were unable or unwilling to obtain prescriptions intended for humans.
Livestock use of ivermectin has resulted in some people calling state poison centers after taking the drug and experiencing negative and sometimes troubling side effects. On August 20, the Mississippi State Department of Health sent an alert to its Poison Center about a number of calls received, with 70% relating to “the ingestion of animals or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers”.
On August 21, the FDA tried a different approach to get public attention, Tweet: “You’re not a horse. You’re not a cow. Seriously, you all. Stop it.”
Back in April, the FDA reaffirmed in a post on its website that ivermectin is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19 nor has it been granted emergency use authorization.
The NIH said in February that there was “insufficient data to recommend for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.” It said laboratory tests found that the drug inhibited the reproduction of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease. However, to be effective, the dosage needs to be “100 times higher than those approved for use in humans”.
While some clinical studies have shown no benefit to ivermectin, the NIH noted that other studies have shown reduced mortality in patients. However, those studies were incomplete or had methodological limitations such as small sample sizes or patients receiving additional medication with ivermectin, according to the NIH.
The WHO said in March that existing evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 was “inconclusive”.
The American Medical Association (AMA), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) say they are “strictly responsible for ordering, prescribing or distributing ivermectin to prevent or treat Covid-19.” Resist. Trial.”
According to a CNN report, a doctor in Arkansas who administered the drug to patients is being investigated by the state’s medical board. He allegedly gave ivermectin prescriptions to inmates at the county jail where he was contracted to provide medical services.
Who says ivermectin is a cure-all, and what information do they have?
Ivermectin’s potential use as a COVID-19 therapeutic focused on early treatment of COVID-19 during a meeting of the US Senate Homeland Security Committee in December. Pulmonary and critical care specialist Dr. Pierre Cory testified about the use of the drug to treat the disease.
“Ivermectin is highly safe, widely available and low-cost,” Corey said at the Senate meeting. “We now have data from more than 20 well-designed clinical studies, 10 of them randomized, controlled trials, with each study consistently showing large magnitude and statistically significant benefits in reducing transmission rates, report a significant reduction in recovery time, hospitalization or deaths. These data suggest that ivermectin is a ‘miracle drug’ effectively against COVID-19.”
During his testimony, Corey referred to a paper he wrote — a review of emerging evidence demonstrating the efficacy of ivermectin in the prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19 — that was published in the May edition of the American Journal of Therapeutics.
The paper was also included in the journal Frontiers of Pharmacology in January but was then dropped in March. The journal’s chief executive editor, Dr. Frederick Fenter, said the paper was removed because of “strong, unsupported claims based on studies with insufficient statistical significance and sometimes without the use of control groups”. Fender also said that the authors promoted their specific ivermectin-based treatment, which goes against editorial policies.
The studies listed in Corey’s paper are for small numbers of participants and have a questionable methodology. For example, a study of 234 uninfected health care workers in Argentina found that those who received the drug were much less likely to be diagnosed with COVID. A BuzzFeed News report was unable to confirm that the test even took place because the hospital where it was conducted says its health care workers were not included in a test.
One study in Iraq used ivermectin to take longer to recover, but the trial was done on only 70 patients. In a small double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial with a group of 89 patients in Israel, those taking ivermectin saw a lower viral load…