DOH, FDA: Recent trials indicate Ivermectin can’t treat COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reiterated their position on Monday that they do not recommend using the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin for COVID-19 care, stating that existing “evidence” does not support such claims.
The agencies cited a study of six trials conducted by the Philippine COVID-19 Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) that concluded the drug “did not significantly reduce” the risk of death in patients with moderate to severe cases.
It was not also correlated with any of the other clinically relevant outcomes studied, including clinical progress from Day 6 to Day 10, clinical worsening, or the need for mechanical ventilation.
Additionally, the DOH and FDA said that the medication did not substantially reduce the hospitalization period or time resolution of symptoms.
The rate of hospital discharge was also not substantially different between the Ivermectin and placebo groups.
“Based on the current evidence from randomized controlled trials, the DOH agrees with the COVID-19 Living CPG Reviewers and does not recommend the use of Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19,” the agencies said in a joint statement.
They added that World Health Organization Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe reported no evidence supporting the use of Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.
“The DOH and FDA are open to allowing pharmacies for compounding Ivermectin. Moreover, we, the DOH and FDA, as well as Malacañang put the safety of Filipinos first before allowing unproven and uncertified medicines in the country,” they said.
The agencies vowed to evaluate an application for registration of the drug.
Ivermectin’s use to treat COVID-19 has recently sparked debates among Filipino physicians. Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic medication that is currently only commercially available in the country in veterinary grade.
Some doctors have supported its effectiveness, encouraging the government to make it available to COVID-19 patients who cannot access overcrowded hospitals.
Last week, FDA Director General Eric Domingo testified before a House committee on health that only topical ivermectin creams used to treat head lice and rosacea were commercially available in the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also reported that prescribing Ivermectin in the absence of statistically relevant evidence of its effectiveness against COVID-19 is “harmful” because it instills the public with “false confidence.”