Set the Record Straight About Ivermectin for COVID-19

You can help calm the hype about ivermectin for COVID-19.

It's being fueled by reports that oral ivermectin reduces mortality and speeds recovery from COVID-19...and may prevent infection if used as post-exposure prophylaxis.

Be prepared with talking points to help set the record straight.

Explain that the frenzy is partly based on FLAWED meta-analyses...including a preprint study that's now retracted due to plagiarism and errors. Other meta-analyses withOUT this study do NOT suggest benefit.

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

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

If a patient is taking ivermectin at home, clarify the dose.

It's usually 200 mcg/kg for a dose or two to treat parasites. It seems to have few safety concerns at this dose. But for COVID-19, some groups are promoting up to triple this dose for several days.

Ask which ivermectin product they're using.

Some patients are taking topical ivermectin orally...or consuming animal products, which may contain very high doses or unsafe ingredients for humans.

Use the hospital admission to educate patients to stop using ivermectin for COVID-19. And don't continue or start it in-house.

Clarify that off-label med use should still be evidence-based.

Explain that ivermectin toxicity can lead to seizures, coma, and death...and may increase INRs with warfarin.

Continue to encourage COVID-19 vaccination if needed. And educate that for future COVID-19 exposures or treatment needs, monoclonal antibodies are an outpatient option...instead of ivermectin.

Review our chart, Treatments of Interest for COVID-19, to dive deeper into the data...and arm yourself with more talking points.

Key References

  • www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/why-you-should-not-use-ivermectin-treat-or-prevent-covid-19 (9-29-21)
  • Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021;(7):CD015017
  • Clin Infect Dis Published online Jun 28, 2021; doi:10.1093/cid/ciab591
Hospital Pharmacist's Letter. October 2021, No. 371002



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