FDA tweets warning as researchers retract a meta-analysis supporting the use of Ivermectin in treating COVID-19.
There’s something about a pandemic that suddenly makes everyone an expert on infectious diseases. The fear of infection, coupled with the multitude of fake information available on the internet, often leads to people adopting strange practices. Over the course of the pandemic, there has been news of people covering themselves with cow urine, drinking bleach and even drinking camel urine. Now, a new treatment strategy has come forward: the use of the cow and horse de-wormer, Ivermectin.
Earlier this year, the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) had issued a warning against the use of the drug, citing insufficient evidence for its benefits. The warning came as a result of several reports of hospitalizations from people self-treating themselves with the drug. Although no regulatory body had approved or suggested the drug for use in COVID-19, multiple studies that supported Ivermectin’s role had come forward.
One such study, a large meta-analysis published on 6th July, led to many people self-medicating with the horse de-wormer. It was one of the most-cited pro-Ivermectin studies and supported the use of Ivermectin in hospitalized patients. However, this past week researchers redacted the study. The decision came after authorities researchers fraudulent data in one of the studies involved in the meta-analysis.
You Are Not a Horse
Despite FDA’s earlier warnings, many doctors continue to prescribe Ivermectin in COVID-19 patients. Recently, a doctor in Houston admitted to prescribing the drug for his patients, for over a year. He claimed that none of his patients had developed any side effects. However, the lack of data supporting the drug’s role in treating COVID-19 makes the drug use a gamble. Moreover, it has led to multiple cases of people developing severe side effects.
Although Ivermectin is also used as an anti-parasite in humans, high doses can cause side effects in people. These include nausea, diarrhoea, low blood pressure, allergic reaction, seizures, coma, and even death.
In the wake of rising hospitalizations due to Ivermectin use, the FDA tweeted a warning on Friday.