Ivermectin: A debate about its use for Covid

In the Dominican Republic, a debate has been generated about the use of ivermectin as part of the treatment for people who have contracted the coronavirus.

Regarding this deworming drug, the Minister of Public Health, Plutarco Arias, said earlier in the week that the drug is not recommended for mass use, despite the fact that in some cases it has caused a positive evolution of the patient, citing that its efficacy regarding the coronavirus is still under investigation for scientists.

“Despite the positive results obtained in the Dominican Republic with ivermectin, in patients infected with the virus, the efficacy of this and other drugs as a treatment against Covid-19 continues to be under scientific evaluation at a national and international level,” said Arias. last Tuesday.

That same statement was also made by the previous head of the Ministry of Public Health, Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas, indicating that a resolution had not been issued on this drug because it was still under investigation in May 2020.

But, What are health organizations saying about ivermectin as a treatment for patients infected with COVID-19?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend its use for the prevention or treatment of coronavirus, warning people not to take any type of drug that has not been prescribed by a professional Of the health.

In fact, according to the latest update of the FDA portal, The use of ivermectin is not allowed in the United States, even in COVID emergencies.

“The use of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 should be avoided as its benefits and safety have not been established for these purposes. Data from clinical studies are necessary to determine if ivermectin is safe and effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, “says the FDA.

Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises against the use of ivermectin for this purpose, highlighting the possible side effects.

Also, ivermectin is not included in the list of drugs for the treatment of coronavirus Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English) of the United States.

Side effects

The FDA reported that some of the side effects that may be associated with ivermectin are rashes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and swelling of the face or extremities.

They also associate it with adverse neurological events, such as dizziness, seizures, or temporary confusion; sudden drop in blood pressure; severe rash that may require hospitalization and liver injury.

They can also alter some categories of laboratory tests such as decreased white blood cell count and elevated liver tests.

What is it approved for?

Ivermectin is a drug used in both people and animals, for the treatment of various parasites.

In its presentation in tablets for human use it has been indicated for the management of parasites such as (intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis), and as a cream for lice and skin conditions such as rosacea.

While in animals it is used for heartworm disease in some species of small animals, and for the treatment of certain internal and external parasites in various species.

What do the studies say?

There is some research that has yielded positive results on the subject, such as the one carried out in the middle of last year by the specialized journal Antiviral Research, in which they reached encouraging conclusions.

Their research indicated that ivermectin is an inhibitor of the causative virus COVID-19, adding that a single treatment could achieve a reduction of approximately 5000 times in the virus at 48 hours in cell culture.

However, the FDA said that these types of laboratory studies are usually used at an early stage of drug development, and that additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin may be appropriate to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19. .

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