Several epidemiologists and infectious diseases doctors are speaking up on the risks associated with taking Ivermectin for COVID-19.
The drug is an anti-parasitic that is used to treat tropical diseases seen in underdeveloped countries and few parts of the United States.
Lotions and creams containing ivermectin are also used to treat head lice and rosacea.
A different form is also FDA-approved for use in animals for prevention of heartworm disease and these forms are of the drug and topical creams can be found at feed stores.
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Ivermectin is not approved for a treatment or preventative measure against COVID-19, but prescriptions for ivermectin have soared to levels that tower those pre-pandemic.
"Please be careful to not use Ivermectin if you or your loved ones have COVID-19, " said epidemiologist Dr. Emily Smith in her blog Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist. "We don’t know enough yet about whether it works or not to advise for it. And, the risk of adverse events are pretty high."
Experiments on cell cultures in petri dishes showed very high doses of ivermectin can impact SARS-CoV-2 but the findings haven't been replicated in people.
Adverse events include GI problems, hypotension, neurologic effects, seizures, coma, and death.
"The data on ivermectin is really poor but more than that, the idea to take one's health care responsibility using ivermectin, instead of masking or vaccination, is really such a huge mistake," said infectious disease physician Dr. Steven Berk, executive vice president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and dean of the School of Medicine.
There are clinical trials looking into whether it is effective as a treatment but those trials are still ongoing.
"Misinformation and the anti-science rhetoric is killing Americans," said epidemiologist Dr. Katelyn Jetelina in her recent blog post about ivermectin use for COVID-19 and other current pandemic trends.