Ivermectin has been called a wonder drug, and some people are wondering if it can, or should, be used to treat COVID-19. While misinformation flies online, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn against using the drug.
The idea of using Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment started as a video emerged of a chairperson in the Japanese Medical Association saying he recommended doctors in Japan start using the drug to treat COVID-19.
Many posts online containing the video make it seem like the video was filmed in August; however, it was filmed in February. Seven months later, Japan has not approved of Ivermectin to be used to treat COVID-19.
While it hasn't been approved to treat COVID-19, the Food and Drug Administration has approved Ivermectin to treat infections caused by parasites. COVID-19, however, is not an illness caused by parasites.
The CDC said that since early July, Ivermectin prescription fills went up "24-fold" despite a warning from the organization that improper usage or dosage could cause serious health issues.
The CDC said one patient was hospitalized for nine days with hallucinations, confusion, rapid breathing and tremors after drinking one dose meant for cattle. Another patient took five tablets of unknown strength for five days and was disoriented and had difficulty answering questions until they were hospitalized and taken off the drug.
Small sample studies have been performed to look at the efficacy of Ivermectin on COVID-19, but those studies haven't shown conclusive evidence of the drug's benefit for the pandemic.
"Maybe someday a larger study may show some benefit," Dr. Steve Feagins with Mercy Health said. "But so far there's really not ...and there's more harm than benefit."
Clinical trials are underway in Florida, including studies to determine whether Ivermectin is effective for high-risk patients in preventing hospitalizations, but so far the FDA has not approved the drug to treat COVID-19 and the FDA and CDC warn against its use.