Infectious Disease

“Alerted” AMA calls for an “immediate end” to non-clinical study use of ivermectin for COVID-19

02.09.2021

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Several medical organizations said they are “vehemently against ordering, prescribing or dispensing ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19” when it is not used in a clinical trial.

“We’re alarmed by reports that ivermectin outpatient prescribing and dispensing has increased 24-fold since the pre-pandemic and has grown exponentially in the past few months,” according to the AMA, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) said in a press release.

Reference: press release

Calls to poison control centers related to the use of ivermectin have quintupled since the pandemic began, the press release said.

As such, we are calling for an immediate end to ivermectin use for COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial setting, the organizations said.

According to the press release, the AMA, APhA, and ASHP recommendation on ivermectin is in line with recent statements from the CDC, FDA, NIH, WHO, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Merck – the maker of the drug – about its use.

The press release also showed that side effects associated with taking ivermectin may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension, impaired consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma, and death.

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Amesh A. Adalja, MD, FIDSA, FACP, FACEP)

Amesh A. Adalja, MD

The AMA’s position statement was necessary as ivermectin’s use for COVID-19 has increased dramatically despite weak or lack of evidence of its benefits. There is no convincing evidence from rigorous clinical studies to show that this is a beneficial treatment.

On the contrary, it appears to have contained fraudulent data in some of the research that has been used to promote their use. In addition, this drug has become part of a political campaign that sought to undermine the vaccine while putting patients at risk, as evidenced by the sharp increase in poison control calls.

Doctors should be role models for rationality, logic and evidence-based medicine based on the scientific method. Until a rigorously designed clinical trial (like PRINCIPLE) shows a benefit, doctors shouldn’t prescribe ivermectin for COVID-19-related reasons. The AMA is right to marginalize those who do this.

Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Disclosure: Adalja does not report any relevant financial information.

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