Pharmacy Groups Call for Immediate End to Prescribing, Dispensing Ivermectin for COVID-19 Outside of Clinical Trials

Calls to poison control centers regarding the use of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 have increased 5-fold since its baseline before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several medical groups and pharmacy advocacy organizations have released a statement calling for an immediate end to dispensing, prescribing, and use of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19, outside of its use in clinical trials.

The groups include the American Medical Association, the American Pharmacists Association, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. According to a press release, ivermectin is approved by the FDA for the prevention of infections caused by internal or external parasites in humans but is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

Ivermectin is also frequently used by veterinarians; although there has been widespread use of the drug in humans, the groups noted in the press release that medications formulated or intended for animals should never be used by humans. Calls to poison control centers regarding ivermectin use in humans have increased 5-fold since the beginning of the pandemic, as its use has been found to be harmful to those who have consumed it.

“We are alarmed by reports that outpatient prescribing for and dispensing of ivermectin have increased 24-fold since before the pandemic and increased exponentially over the past few months,” write the associations in the prepared statement. “As such, we are calling for an immediate end to the prescribing, dispensing, and use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.”

The organizations are also calling for physicians, pharmacists, and other health care providers to warn patients against the use of ivermectin, including the purchase of the drug through online stores. Patients should be advised that veterinary forms of the medication are highly concentrated for large animals and have a significant toxicity risk for humans.

The CDC and FDA have issued statements saying that ivermectin is not authorized or approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19, and the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and Merck have all said that there is insufficient evidence to support its use for COVID-19. Guidelines on the treatment and management of patients with COVID-19 from the Infectious Diseases Society of America also counsel against the use of ivermectin outside of the clinical trial setting.

REFERENCE

AMA, APhA, ASHP Call for Immediate End to Prescribing, Dispensing, and Use of Ivermectin to Prevent or Treat COVID-19 Outside Clinical Trials. News release. ASHP; September 1, 2021. Accessed September 2, 2021. https://www.ashp.org/news/2021/09/01/ama-apha-ashp-call-for-end-to-ivermectin-to-prevent-or-treat-covid-19