“There seems to be growing interest in a drug called ivermectin to treat humans with COVID-19. Ivermectin is often used in the US to treat or prevent parasites in animals. The FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with horse ivermectin, “the agency’s announcement said Friday.
The announcement noted that the FDA has not approved ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19 in humans and that the drug is not an antiviral drug.
“Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm,” the ad said, noting that even levels of ivermectin approved for other uses can interact with other medications, such as blood thinners.
“You can also overdose on ivermectin, which can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness, ataxia (balance problems), seizures, coma, and even death.” .
In the Cali, Colombia-based JAMA study, nearly 500 adults with mild illness who had symptoms for seven days volunteered to help test the drug. The trial is what is known as a double-blind randomized control trial, the gold standard of trials.
Half of the volunteers received the drug for five days, the other half received a placebo and standard care. The patients were enrolled in the trial between July 2020 and November 2020 and were followed up by doctors until December.
At the end of the trial, there were about the same number of adverse events, mainly headache, in both groups of volunteers. Patients who received the drug said their symptoms decreased within 10 days. For the group that received the placebo, it was 12 days.
Two days were not considered a “significant” improvement.
“The findings do not support the use of ivermectin for the treatment of mild COVID-19,” the Colombia-based researchers wrote. The study adds that larger trials may be needed to better understand whether ivermectin provides some other type of benefit to Covid-19 patients. In this case, the study focused on symptoms and mild illness.