A review of 41 studies found no good evidence that ivermectin prevents or treats COVID-19 infections (Cochrane Reviews, July 28, 2021). No study compared ivermectin to an intervention with proven efficacy. Additionally, 31 studies are ongoing and 18 studies are awaiting classification until publication of results or clarification of inconsistencies. See https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD015017.pub2 . The authors conclude that, “Overall, the reliable evidence available does not support the use of ivermectin for treatment or prevention of COVID-19 outside of well-designed randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We included studies comparing the medicine to placebo (dummy treatment), no treatment, usual care, or treatments for COVID-19 that are known to work to some extent, such as remdesivir or dexamethasone. We excluded studies that compared ivermectin to other drugs that do not work, such as hydroxychloroquine, or that are not known to be effective against COVID 19. The completed studies are small and few are considered high qualit Several studies are underway that may produce clearer answers in review updates.”
What is Ivermectin?
Ivermectin is used to treat intestinal parasitic infestations in animals and scabies in humans. There is data to show that ivermectin inhibits COVID-19 virus growth in the test tube (Antiviral Res, Jun 2020;178:104787), but comparable doses in humans would be much higher than recommended for humans and are far more toxic.
Human-grade ivermectin is considered safe for worms, head lice, and skin conditions such as rosacea, but it has caused side effects including headaches, nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, and high blood pressure. In high doses, it has caused seizures. The recommended dose for parasite disease animals is much higher than for humans.
What Triggered the Ivermectin Frenzy
The study in Antiviral Research (Jun, 2020;178:104787) made headlines in the news, and the FDA quickly issued a warning against use of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 in humans. Then a very controversial paper claimed a huge reduction in death rate in COVID-19 patients given ivermectin. It had not been peer-reviewed and had such poorly-documented records that it was retracted entirely and was never published in a scientific journal. Then another paper claimed that ivermectin reduced death rate from COVID-19 by 90 percent, but the paper was withdrawn for ethical reasons and not published in a scientific journal. See The Shaky Science Behind Ivermectin as a COVID-19 Cure (National Geographic, September 2, 2021).
More than 170 million people in the United States have been vaccinated against COVID-19, with a high rate of safety and effectiveness and very low rates of side effects. Nobody has shown that ivermectin is effective or safe.