Doctor, pharmacist groups urge end to ivermectin prescribing, use
Three organizations representing doctors and pharmacists are calling for an immediate end to prescribing, dispensing, and using ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19, other than in clinical trials.
In a September 1 news release, the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists said they are “alarmed” by reports that outpatient prescribing for, and dispensing of, ivermectin are up 24-fold since the start of the pandemic and have “increased exponentially over the past few months.”
The groups also say they are urging doctors, pharmacists and other prescribers to warn patients against using ivermectin outside of FDA-approved indications and guidance or buying it from online stores, noting that in its veterinary forms the drug is highly concentrated for use in large animals and thus poses “a significant toxicity risk for humans.”
The FDA has approved the use of ivermectin for use by humans to treat infections caused by internal and external parasites, according to the release, but not to prevent or treat COVID-19. It cites a recent CDC Health Alert Network Advisory recommending that health care professionals counsel patients against using ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, and emphasize the “potentially toxic effects” of the drug, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Overdoses, the advisory says, “are associated with hypertension and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, comas, and death.” Calls to poison control centers resulting from ingesting ivermectin are up five-fold over their pre-pandemic baseline, according to the release.
The CDC and FDA have also issued advisories indicating that ivermectin is neither authorized nor approved for preventing or treating COVID-19, while the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and Merck—the drug’s manufacturer—“all state there is insufficient evidence to support the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19,” according to the release.