Ivermectin didn't curb COVID-19 hospitalizations in largest study to date

In a trial of nearly 1,400 COVID-19 patients, those who received the antiparasitic drug ivermectin didn't fare better than those who received a placebo, The Wall Street Journal reported March 18. 

It's the largest trial yet to evaluate the drug's effect on the coronavirus. The findings are awaiting publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal and are set to be presented March 18 at a forum sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Edward Mills, PhD, one of the study's lead researchers, told the Journal

"There was no indication that ivermectin was clinically useful," Dr. Mills said. He is a professor of health sciences at Canada's McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. 

The research involved 1,348 adults in Brazil who tested positive for COVID-19 and were all at risk of developing a severe case. Half of the patients were prescribed a course of ivermectin pills for three days and the other half received a placebo. Dr. Mills and team looked at whether patients on ivermectin were less likely to require hospitalization, whether they cleared the virus faster, whether their symptoms resolved sooner, whether they were in the hospital or on ventilators for less time, and whether there was a difference in death rates between the cohorts. 

Findings showed ivermectin didn't improve patient outcomes for any of these factors. 

"This is the first large, prospective study that should really help put to rest ivermectin and not give any credibility to the use of it for COVID-19," Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who reviewed the findings, told the Journal

Ivermectin is primarily used to treat patients with certain parasitic diseases and has not been approved to treat any viral infections. The FDA has warned large doses of the drug are dangerous. 


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