December 7, 2022

As clinical trials are ongoing for the production of anti-Covid-19 medications, a city councilor is urging the Department of Health to include in its medication protocol the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin either as treatment or prophylaxis for Covid-19.

In a proposed resolution, Councilor Benny Bomogao cited a study by the Frontline Critical Care Alliance (FLCCA) which shows that Ivermectin, whether in standard or high doses, can be used on humans for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19.

He said his research showed that inclusion of Ivermectin in the list of medications administered on people infected with Covid-19 has eliminated the existence of Covid-19 in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

But health experts and the World Health Organization have said claims of Ivermectin being able to reduce the number of cases in India are not supported by epidemiological and clinical evidence.

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration, WHO, Johns Hopkins University, and other experts in the field of epidemiology, virology, public health, and infectious diseases do not recommend use of Ivermectin in the treatment of Covid.

In April 2021, the FDA issued a public health warning advising the public against the purchase and use of Ivermectin. The FDA said it has not approved the drug for the treatment of viral infections.

Currently, Ivermectin registered for human use in the country are for topical application only for the treatment of external parasites such as head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Topical Ivermectin may only be accessed if with doctor’s prescription.

Animal grade Ivermectin are used for the treatment of heartworm disease, internal and external parasites of certain animal species.

“The public is warned against taking animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and efficacy in the particular species for which they are labeled. Using these products in humans can cause serious harm. Animal drugs are often highly concentrated and can be highly toxic to humans,” the FDA advisory stated.

The U.S. FDA also warned that Ivermectin approved for human use can interact with other medications, like blood-thinners. Overdosage can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness, ataxia (problems with balance), seizures, coma and even death, which is why a doctor’s prescription is required when using human grade Ivermectin.

The U.S. FDA added that extensive research and trials are crucial for experts who do not only review the effectiveness of a drug but also the safety and effectiveness of active ingredients and inactive ingredients.

“Many inactive ingredients found in products for animals aren’t evaluated for use in people. Or they are included in much greater quantity than those used in people. In some cases, we don’t know how those inactive ingredients will affect how Ivermectin is absorbed in the human body,” the U.S. FDA said.

The Philippine FDA has been reiterating its advisories against the use of Ivermectin as they continue to receive reports that the public are able to access Ivermectin, which is being used as prophylaxis against the Covid-19.

In May, the FDA has issued a compassionate use permit to six private hospitals for the limited use of the human grade Ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

Bomogao’s proposal will be discussed by the city council on Monday along with the FDA and the city government of Bacolod, the first local government unit that passed a resolution urging the use of Ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19. – Rimaliza A. Opiña