Ivermectin is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet, topical cream, and topical lotion. Ivermectin oral tablet is available as the brand-name drug Stromectol. It’s also available as a generic drug.
Ivermectin became a subject of world interest following the outbreak of coronavirus and claims that it could help with the disease.
However, new data have now shown that Ivermectin does not significantly reduce recovery time among COVID-19 patients according to a study of more than 1,500 people, The New York Times reported on June 12.
The preliminary findings were published in the preprint server MedRxiv on June 10 and were led by researchers at Durham, N.C.-based Duke University and Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University.
A total of 877 patients received ivermectin, while 774 patients were given a placebo. The ivermectin cohort felt unwell for an average of 10.96 days, relative to 11.45 days for the placebo group, marking a difference of about 12 hours. Researchers did not find a statistically significant difference in risk for requiring hospitalization among the groups. Nearly half of the volunteers had been vaccinated, which researchers said may have reduced the overall number of severe COVID-19 cases, which may have affected the ability to detect a clinical benefit.
“Given these results, there does not appear to be a role for ivermectin outside of a clinical trial setting, especially considering other available options with proven reduction in hospitalizations and death,” Adrian Hernandez, MD, executive director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute who led the trial, said in a statement cited by the Times.
Researchers are now planning additional studies to explore higher doses of ivermectin.
In March, researchers published findings from a trial of nearly 1,400 COVID-19 patients who were all at risk of developing severe disease that showed ivermectin did not curb hospitalizations.
Ivermectin is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat or prevent COVID-19. The FDA has issued a warning statement about the dangers of taking this drug in large doses or for unapproved uses. And it is not safe for humans to take medications meant for animals. (Ivermectin prescribed for animals is very different than ivermectin prescribed for humans.)
Do not take any prescription drug, including ivermectin, unless your doctor recommends that you do so. If you have questions about the use of ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19, talk with your doctor.