Findings on ivermectin’s COVID-19 treatment effectivity still pending, medical workers stress in call for ‘sobriety’

March 25, 2021 - 1:26 PM
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Doctor Jan Claire Dorado, 30, tends to a patient at the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Emergency Room of East Avenue Medical Center, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, June 26, 2020. Picture taken June 26 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

A group of healthcare professionals issued a “call for sobriety” over the debate on the effectivity of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 patients.

In a statement on March 24, the Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19 stated that clinical trials ongoing about such purpose for the drug.

“The possibility that ivermectin is an effective drug for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 is indeed something worth looking into. The best proof that the world is taking this seriously is the fact that there are 73 ongoing clinical trials on its use,” the group said.

“However, these trials are also proof that THE FINAL VERDICT IS PENDING. Once there is definite proof of benefit or harm, all these trials would be stopped by the investigators themselves and ethics committees around the world,” it added.

The medical workers pointed out that trial results normally have a follow-up period of 28 days, thus advised the pubic to wait for the results.

“If indeed it is effective, then we should be thankful for another addition to our list of effective COVID treatments. If it is not, then let’s move on and continue the search for more treatments that work,” it said.

This statement came following the advisory of the Department of Health and the country’s Food and Drug Administration that the pharmaceutical product is not approved for treating viral infections such as COVID-19.

FDA further stated that they had only so far evaluated the efficacy and safety of the tablet labeled for animals.

READ: Can ivermectin lessen risk of COVID-19? Health orgs debunk claims

The ivermectin for humans, meanwhile, are for prescription use only.

“The public is warned against taking animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and efficacy in the particular species for which they are labeled. Using these products in humans can cause serious harm. Animal drugs are often highly concentrated and can be highly toxic to humans,” FDA said.

The Ivermectin is a drug commonly used in the Philippines and in the United States for treating parasitic infestations such as lice, scabies and other tropical diseases.

It is also used in some animal species for the similar purpose, the prevention and treatment of parasite-related conditions.

However, during the novel coronavirus pandemic, there were reports of the tablet being used in some parts of the world, including in the Philippines as COVID-19 treatment.

In line with the still ongoing debate, the HPAAC called on fellow medical professionals and other Filipinos in the medical field to be sober and temperate with their exchange of opinions to avoid confusing the public.

“As healthcare professionals, we must be responsible for the unintended effects of our actions, especially if they can lead our people to confusion. The war is against the pandemic, not against each other,” the HPAAC said.

So far, the US FDA has approved the use of another drug called Veklury (remdesivir) for COVID-19 treatment for adults and some pediatric patients.

“Veklury should only be administered in a hospital or in a health care setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care,” US FDA said on its website.