November 30, 2022

The Covid-19 still has no cure and the medications administered on infected patients are only for the management of symptoms, according to doctors in Baguio in reaction to the selling of medicines supposedly as cure for those infected of the SARS-CoV2.

Some of these medications are the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin and the Chinese herbal medicine Linhua Qingwen.

Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Adult Infectious Diseases Specialist Bernard Demot and Department of Health-Cordillera Asst. Director Amelita Pangilinan said there is not enough proof to show that Ivermectin can treat Covid-19.

A group of doctors and two party-list representatives are promoting and have even distributed Ivermectin for the treatment of patients with Covid-19 but Demot said use of said drug should be a last resort if the current medications used to treat the symptoms of the infection are no longer working.

Medications currently used for those with severe and critical symptoms of the Covid-19 are the anti-malaria drug Remdesivir, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids.

The medical grade Ivermectin, which is used in countries with high incidences of stomach parasitism such as in Africa and Brazil is said to have components that can kill the viral RNA of the SARS-CoV2.

But Demot said there is not enough evidence to show that Ivermectin is effective in treating those with Covid-19. He said this explains why the Food and Drug Administration have limited its use, has issued strict guidelines for hospitals issued a compassionate use permit, and is not commercially available.

Hospitals in Baguio have compassionate use permits for Remdesivir.

Demot said a prescription is required in the purchase of Ivermectin. Wrong intake could lead to confusion, diarrhea, and nausea.

Like Ivermectin,  Linhua Qingwen cannot be bought over the counter.

Linhua is a Chinese herbal medicine used to treat upper respiratory tract infections or flu symptoms but it is not a registered medication for Covid-19.

Demot said only doctors with S2 permits are allowed to prescribe Linhua.

S2 permits are issued to doctors by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency which regulates prescription of medications that have narcotic properties. 

According to the Dangerous Drugs Board, Linhua contains ephedra, an herb traditionally used to treat lung infections. The plant contains ephedrine – a central nervous system stimulant. 

Demot said Linhua is not recommended for those with hypertension as it causes increase in blood pressure and might result in seizure, heart attack or stroke.

Pangilinan said the DOH is monitoring drugstores and registered online sellers to ensure that dispensation of regulated drugs is complied with. – Rimaliza A. Opiña