US FDA on the consequences of ivermectin for COVID-19

August 6, 2021 - 6:56 PM
A box of the drug Ivermectine, made by Biogaran, is pictured on the counter of a pharmacy, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Paris, France, April 28, 2020. (Reuters/Benoit Tessier)

The US-based Food and Drug Administration renewed its advice against the use of ivermectin in attempting to treat the virus which causes COVID-19.

Vaccinologist Melvin Sanicas posted this briefer on August 2. It was also the same day Rep. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan) promoted the anti-parasitic drug again for COVID-19 treatment.

Defensor has recently been in the news for distributing ivermectin in defiance of the local FDA. He has claimed the antiparasitic drug has been found effective against COVID-19 numbers in some countries such as the United Kingdom, the US and Israel.

After sharing his claims on social media, the lawmaker decried that Facebook blocked him from accessing his personal account and his party-list group’s account on the platform.

Sanicas, also an infectious disease expert, then shared the US FDA’s briefer on ivermectin as a persistent reminder of its risks should it be used to treat and prevent COVID-19.

“People who are against #vaccines but are passionate advocates of this drug to treat (does not work!) or prevent (also does not work!) #COVID are some of the weirdest ‘phenomena’ in this #pandemic,” he said.

“The studies showing a benefit have been retracted (withdrawn because of fraud) but they are blindly believing data that has been shown to be fraudulent,” he added.

The screenshot he attached in the post showed US FDA’s tweet that read: “There’s a lot of misinformation around, and you may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin to treat or prevent #COVID19. That is wrong.”

Risks you should know about

Ivermectin is not a drug approved for COVID-19 in humans, the US FDA’s briefer states. The tablet form may be approved for treating parasitic conditions for humans, but not COVID-19, which is viral.

“FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. Ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Ivermectin is not an anti-viral (a drug for treating viruses).

It notes that ivermectin for humans differs from the product prescribed for animals.

“Some forms of ivermectin are used in animals to prevent heartworm disease and certain internal and external parasites. It’s important to note that these products are different from the ones for people, and safe when used as prescribed for animals, only.”

Taking large doses of ivermectin is especially not prescribed for humans and can cause severe health illnesses.

“You can also overdose on ivermectin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness, ataxia (problems with balance), seizures, coma and even death.”

The Department of Health and the country’s FDA have similarly been against the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients.

READ: The ‘unpleasant’ side effects of taking ivermectin drug, according to medical professionals

However, last April, FDA moved to grant “compassionate use” for the controversial medicine to a hospital.

Defensor, however, threatened the state regulator of possible legal actions should it interfere with his “Ivermectin Pan-three” initiative with Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip party-list). It was an ivermectin distribution event near low-income communities in Quezon City.

The congressman has not faced sanctions for it.

READ: 2 lawmakers distribute Ivermectin despite caveats, prohibitions