The Danger of Using Ivermectin in Treatment of COVID-19
By Sharae Chua, MD and Xy-Zha Cabanlong
DISCLAIMER: We don’t want to preempt the launching of UpLyfted E-Magazine on our website, BUT we care a lot about each individual in this country as there are some who are pushing for Ivermectin as a treatment drug for COVID-19. May this special article shed light and provide each reader with the right information about this medicine, rather than be killed because of misinformation about this medicine.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
That’s what we often say when we are being challenged - we often find ourselves trying every possibility to solve that something even when we know that there is little to no hope in finding a solution for it.
This ideal may be true in some of our life’s aspects but it definitely is a different thing when it comes to our health and safety. Even at this point in time that the COVID-19 cases have surged in the country, it is best that we heed to the reminders and the advice of health care experts. Our lives are very precious to be wasted due to misinformation just because some people think that they have already found the cure for the virus that still keeps on halting our normal lives.
It made a buzz that the animal parasitic drug called Ivermectin allegedly was taken by some people that tested positive for the virus, aiding their fast recovery from COVID-19. This paved way for some legislators to wish that the Department of Health would consider using this to treat COVID-19 patients.
Not that we wanted to kill the vibe of everyone hopeful about the Ivermectin but as of late, there is no known medicine for COVID-19.
In a statement published on their website, the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has warned the public of the use of Ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 as it imposes grave danger to humans. For one, it has not approved any Ivermectin for the treatment of the virus in humans, it is not an antiviral drug.
Ivermectin is a parasitic drug that is used mainly for animals.
“Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms. In addition, some topical (on the skin) forms of ivermectin are approved to treat external parasites like head lice and for skin conditions such as rosacea. Some forms of ivermectin are used in animals to prevent heartworm disease and certain internal and external parasites. It’s important to note that these products are different from the ones for people, and safe when used as prescribed for animals, only,” the statement reads.
The statement also added that it has not reviewed data to support using Ivermectin in treatment or prevention of COVID-19 but there is research underway to study its efficacy. USFDA further warns that taking any drug beyond its purpose can be very dangerous.
“There’s a lot of misinformation around, and you may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of Ivermectin. That is wrong,” the USFDA warned.
Overdose in Ivermectin is possible - it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness, ataxia (problems with balance), seizures, coma and even death.
Supporting the statement of the USFDA, the World Health Organization (WHO) also released its own statement saying that the use of Ivermectin in treatment and prevention of COVID-19 is inconclusive.
“Until more data is available, WHO recommends that the drug only be used in clinical trials,” says the statement published on their website on 31 March 2021.
These statements from two of the world’s most trusted health care authorities should have been enough warning for the public and for the people pushing for the use of Ivermectin as treatment and preventive drug for COVID-19. But as the days pass, there are more and more people being lured in the idea that this drug sparks hope in eliminating the coronavirus disease that had already claimed 2.86 million lives worldwide.
Such hype perhaps drove the pharmaceutical company, Merck to release its own statement regarding the use of Ivermectin.
“Company scientists continue to carefully examine the findings of all available and emerging studies of Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 for evidence of efficacy and safety. It is important to note that, to-date, our analysis has identified that there is no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies; no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease, and; a concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies. We do not believe that the data available support the safety and efficacy of Ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information,” the statement says
Such statements coming from Merck should be enough warning, along with the strong disapproval of the local health agencies in the country like the Department of Health (DOH), our local FDA and the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID).
While we understand that most, if not all of us are already tired of all the strict measures being imposed on us by the government and that we are all anxious as to when the real cure for this disease would be discovered, it is still best that we listen to the people who knows the right medicine and the right dose in treatment of any illness or disease - not just with COVID-19. Remember that this matter concerns our health and well-being so we should carefully study and research about it first before taking anything in.
Never self-medicate, always opt for prescription.
Let us keep in mind that not all that goes viral in social media is for our common good, and just because it has this certain hype doesn’t mean it is efficient and effective in eliminating the virus.
Listen to what the experts say and do not believe in hearsays.
As it stands, the REAL prevention against COVID-19 is still wearing face masks (double mask if you can), frequent handwashing, social distancing and avoiding crowds.