COVID-19 and Ivermectin

Ivermectin in lab setting

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Ivermectin for COVID

No repurposed medicine has garnered more worldwide interest than ivermectin. This anti-parasitic medication is available for both humans and animals to treat worm infections. Early reports indicated that it worked well to treat COVID-19 infection and many people around the world began self-medicating with the animal medicine that is available at feed stores. However, scientists and public health officials have warned that ivermectin has not yet proven to be effective. Poison control centers have also been swamped with calls relating to overdoses of ivermectin.

The take-home messages are: 1) large randomized clinical trials are needed to understand if ivermectin may help treat COVID-19, 2) you should not take ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19 unless you are part of a controlled clinical trial. 

Details of the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19

The history of using ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment is interesting. A summary is included here. Check the Additional Resources section for scientific publications.

Ivermectin gained public attention because a laboratory study showed that it could inhibit the coronavirus cells infected with SARS-CoV-2. A  study conducted in Egypt by Elgazzar and colleagues was then published that showed ivermectin given to 400 COVID-positive people reduced mortality by over 90%. But this result was too good to be true. Evaluation of the study by other scientists found a number of concerns, including duplicated patient records, inconsistencies, and patients who died before the study started, as reported in Nature

The paper has since been withdrawn from the journal. But the results were included in at least one review supporting the efficacy of ivermectin. It was a meta-analysis (which evaluates multiple studies to determine an overall effect) which was likely heavily influenced by the questionable Egyptian publication.

More recent research and evaluation of ivermectin has been inconclusive. Many clinical studies are too small. A number of recent meta-analyses have concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to recommend ivermectin for treating COVID-19 but that larger and more robust trials are needed (see Additional Resources below).

The Together Trial recently stopped giving ivermectin to participants due to lack of postive effect on COVID. Other clinical trials of ivermectin are ongoing: the University of Minnesota COVID-Out clinical trial and the U.S. Health and Human Services Activ-6 clinical trials are enrolling. 

With continued enrollment in these large trials, we should have conclusive evidence for or against the use of ivermectin for treating COVID-19 infection.

Ivermectin molecule

Take Action

  • Do not self-medicate with ivermectin labelled for animal use!
  • If you recently tested positive for COVID, you can sign up for a clinical trial or use our clinical trial finder:

    • COVID OUT – University of Minnesota trial evaluating fluvoxamine, ivermectin, metformin.
    • ACTIV-6 – NIH trial evaluating fluvoxamine, fluticasone, ivermectin.

Ivermectin

  • Bryant A, Lawrie T, Dowswell T, et al. 2021. Ivermectin for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection: A systematic review, meta-analysis, and trial sequential analysis to inform clinical guidelines. Am J Therapeutics, 28(4): e434-e460. (free full text, meta-analysis including Elgazzar publication)
  • Cardwell K, Murchu E, Byrne P et al. 2021. Pharmacological interventions to prevent Covid-19 disease: A rapid review. Rev Med Virol. 28:e2299. (free full text, review)
  • Cruciani M, Pati I, Masiello F et al. 2021 Ivermectin for prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Diagnostics (Basel). 11(9): 1645. (free full text, meta-analysis)
  • Deng J, Zhou F, Ali S et al. 2021. Efficacy and safety of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. QJM. 27 : hcab247. (free full text, meta-analysis)
  • Popp M, Stegemann M, Metzendorf M et al. 2021. Ivermectin for preventing and treating COVID-19. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD015017. (free full text, review)

Human Health News

We’re sorry, you are not eligible for the nationwide COVID-OUT or ACTIV-6 studies, but you may be eligible for other federal trials:

And if you don’t find a match there, this slightly more complex clinical trials finder includes studies sponsored by companies as well:

Trials Today