AMA, APhA, ASHP urge immediate end to prescribing, dispensing, and using ivermectin for COVID-19 outside clinical trials
Outpatient prescribing and dispensing of ivermectin has increased an alarming 24-fold since before the pandemic. Though the drug is FDA-approved for human use to treat internal and external parasite infections, it is not approved for COVID-19.
The American Medical Association (AMA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) are calling for an immediate end to the ordering, prescribing, or dispensing of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.
This has become a concerning issue as reports of outpatient prescribing and dispensing of ivermectin increased 24-fold since pre-pandemic times and spiked significantly throughout the last few months, according to an association release.
Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use to treat internal and external parasite infections, ivermectin is not approved for COVID-19. Though ivermectin is used to treat some veterinary conditions, it goes without saying medications formulated or intended for use in animals should not be used by humans.
According to the release, the AMA, APhA, and ASHP are also urging trusted healthcare professionals in their communities (ie, physicians, pharmacists, and other prescribers) to raise public awareness of the harms of ivermectin outside of FDA-approved indications and guidance surrounding both human or animal use. Plus, they want these officials to warn the population against purchasing ivermectin from online stores.
The use of ivermectin for COVID-19 has been shown to be dangerous to patients. Veterinary ivermectin is highly concentrated for large animals and poses a significant toxicity risk for humans. Additionally, calls to poison control centers due to ivermectin ingestion have increased 5-fold from their pre-pandemic baseline, according to the release.
A recent CDC Health Alert Network Advisory recommends that healthcare professionals inform human patients against the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 by stressing the potentially toxic effects of this drug, including “nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Overdoses are associated with hypotension and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma, and death.”
The AMA, APhA, and ASHP suggest people consult their physicians, pharmacists, or other prescribers for information on available therapy options authorized or approved for COVID-19. According to the release, each association highlights the following as the most effective strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19:
- Getting vaccinated
- Wearing a face mask
- Staying at least 6 feet from others in public
- Washing hands frequently
- Avoiding large crowds of people
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. September 1, 2021; American Pharmacist’s Association; American Medical Association; American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Accessed September 2, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ama-apha-ashp-call-for-immediate-end-to-prescribing-dispensing-and-use-of-ivermectin-to-prevent-or-treat-covid-19-outside-clinical-trials-301367916.html