Help Rein In Inappropriate Use of Ivermectin for COVID-19

You'll continue to hear hype about ivermectin for COVID-19.

It's being fueled by reports that oral ivermectin (Stromectol) reduces death and speeds recovery from COVID-19...and may prevent infection if taken after an exposure.

But the frenzy is partly based on FLAWED studies...including a trial that's now retracted due to plagiarism and errors.

Other well-done studies do NOT suggest benefit.

Plus national guidelines say more evidence is needed...and medical and pharmacy groups (AMA, APhA, ASHP, etc) strongly oppose its use.

Even the manufacturer of Stromectol says there's no scientific basis to use ivermectin for COVID-19.

Help rein in inappropriate use.

When taking med histories, alert your pharmacist if patients have ivermectin Rxs to treat or prevent COVID-19...especially those with "red-flag" quantities or doses.

For example, the usual dose of oral ivermectin for a 175 lb patient with parasites is about 5 tablets for just a dose or two.

But some pro-ivermectin groups are advising up to TRIPLE this dose for several days for COVID-19...leading to Rxs for hundreds of tabs.

Also watch for patients taking TOPICAL ivermectin orally...or ivermectin products for animals, which may contain very high doses or unsafe ingredients for humans.

Expect clinicians to explain risks. For instance, ivermectin toxicity can lead to seizures, coma, and death...and may increase bleeding risk with warfarin.

Plus they can encourage COVID-19 vaccination if needed...and educate that for future COVID-19 exposures or treatment, monoclonal antibodies are an outpatient option instead of ivermectin.

Get our chart, Treatments of Interest for COVID-19, for details on other meds or supplements patients may want to try.

Key References

  • (10-1-21)
  • Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021;(7):CD015017
  • Clin Infect Dis Published online Jun 28, 2021; doi:10.1093/cid/ciab591
Hospital Pharmacy Technician's Letter. October 2021, No. 371002

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