Medical groups decry ivermectin prescriptions for COVID-19

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Three prominent medical groups — the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists — on Sept. 1 voiced their opposition to the ordering, prescribing and dispensing of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 outside of clinical trials.

Ivermectin is most often used to treat parasitic worms in animals. It isn't an antiviral and the FDA has warned against using it to treat COVID-19, but some physicians have been prescribing it to treat the disease.

Outpatient prescribing for and dispensing of ivermectin has increased to levels 24 times higher than before the pandemic, according to the groups' statement. They also noted calls to poison control centers have increased to levels five times higher than before the pandemic because of ivermectin ingestion.

"We are urging physicians, pharmacists, and other prescribers — trusted healthcare professionals in their communities — to warn patients against the use of ivermectin outside of FDA-approved indications and guidance, whether intended for use in humans or animals, as well as purchasing ivermectin from online stores," the statement read. "Veterinary forms of this medication are highly concentrated for large animals and pose a significant toxicity risk for humans."

The groups' call to end experimental ivermectin usage for COVID-19 outside clinical trials aligns with similar warnings from the FDA, World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health and Merck, the drug's manufacturer. All entities have stated that there is not sufficient evidence to support the drug's use to treat COVID-19.

 

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