Some continue to push for Ivermectin to be used to treat coronavirus infections.
There has been a lot of talk about Ivermectin as of late, a medication that treats some parasitic diseases such as ringworm. There are two types of the medication – one that it prescribed to treat health conditions in people, and one that is prescribed by veterinarians to treat animal parasites. It has gained a ton of attention because some contend it could be a powerful drug to fight COVID-19 infections despite the lack of proof and doctors’ inability to prescribe it for this reason. Now, lawsuits have been filed alleging people should have access to Ivermectin to fight against the coronavirus, which those in support say could be lifesaving.
To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved prescription Ivermectin tablets to treat two infections caused by parasitic worms – strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis. Topical ivermectin is used to treat head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea and scabies.
Regulators are warning there is little evidence to indicate Ivermectin is effective in fighting off the virus despite popularity of the topic on many social media platforms, and these lawsuits have received mixed results in state courts. Some judges have refused to order hospitals to give Ivermectin while others have ordered providers to provide the medication even after citing concerns it could be harmful. In other cases, orders to administer the drug have been reversed later on down the line.
In a New York case brought in September, state Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio (Republican) declined to order the use of Ivermectin due to its unproven effectiveness after a man sued a Staten Island hospital on behalf of his father, who had contracted a severe case of COVID-19. “This court will not require any doctor to be placed in a potentially unethical position wherein they could be committing medical malpractice by administering a medication for an unapproved, alleged off-label purpose,” the judge wrote in his decision.
The FDA has yet to give approval for the drug to treat the coronavirus, and it is unclear whether it will. According to WebMD, “Scientists have been studying the drug to find out if it can treat COVID-19, but they need more information before they can say whether it’s safe or effective. That’s why major groups like the FDA, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the World Health Organization say you shouldn’t take ivermectin for COVID-19 unless you’re enrolled in a…clinical trial.”
WebMD also warns that not being under the care of a doctor and choosing to take Ivermectin can be dangerous as it is an especially powerful drug and those prescribed to animals are meant for cows and pigs, which weigh much more than humans. Self-dosing based on this labelling can have life-threatening results. WebMD states, “If you’re not under a doctor’s care, it’s possible to take too much and overdose, which can lead to seizures, coma, and death.”
“The way medicine works is, they are the experts, the doctors and the hospitals,” said Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine. “When you go there, you’re not going to a restaurant. You don’t order your own treatments. You can’t have a medical field that’s subjected to having to practice according to patient demand backed up by court orders. That is positively horrible medicine.”