Ivermectin: Not an Approved Treatment for COVID-19Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The anti-parasitic medication ivermectin has been in the news lately as people across the country have taken the drug in the hopes of preventing or treating COVID-19.
Lee Health does not endorse the use of ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.
Our public health awareness expert Dr. Stephanie Stovall, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist, Interim Chief of Quality and Patient Safety, explains the latest about the appropriate uses of ivermectin:
Q: What is ivermectin?
A: First, what ivermectin is not: ivermectin is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent or treat COVID-19 in humans or animals.
The drug is approved by the FDA to treat infections in humans caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.
Also, some forms of animal ivermectin are approved to prevent heartworm disease and treat certain internal and external parasites. Animal ivermectin products are very different from those approved for humans. The use of animal ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 in humans is dangerous.
Q: Is there any data that supports the effectiveness of ivermectin against COVID-19?
A: None. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which issued a health advisory about ivermectin, and the National Institutes of Health have determined there is insufficient data at this time to recommend the drug. The Infectious Disease Society of America, which provides treatment guidelines, also recommends against its use for treatment.
Q: What should we know about ivermectin if we have a prescription for it?
A: If you have a prescription for ivermectin issued by your healthcare provider for the treatment of an infection or a head and skin condition, have the prescription filled through a legitimate source such as a pharmacy, and take it exactly as prescribed.
Never use medications intended for animals on yourself or other people. And, as with all prescribed medications, they are only intended for the person on the prescription and are not to be shared with other people.
Q: Are there any clinical trials that are investigating the use of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19?
A: Clinical trials are ongoing. Our Lee Health team of infection prevention experts, pharmacists, and physicians continue to review data, trends and outcomes for COVID-19-positive patients.
We’ll continue to implement and endorse treatment options that are tested and recommended by public health officials and medical experts. Our goal remains to provide the safest, best care and outcomes for our patients.
We’ll also continue to refine and adapt our recommendations and education to reflect the advances and discoveries in science involving COVID-19 and the healthcare response to this pandemic.