RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – First hydroxychloroquine, and now ivermectin; it is one of the most warned about drugs, criticized by the medical establishment and regulatory authorities in many countries. However, both drugs have long existed as FDA-approved prescription medications for several diseases. But now, people are being told that they are deadly and very dangerous.
Ivermectin was approved by the FDA in 1998 under the brand name Stromectol, produced by the pharmaceutical giant Merck, and approved for various parasitic infections, principally in large animals. The product label described it as having a “unique mode of action,” which “leads to an increase in cell membrane permeability to chloride ions.”
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This suggests that ivermectin acts as an ionophore, making cell membranes permeable to ions entering the cell for therapeutic effect. Safety data for these vaccines are relatively limited, but the WHO has identified two serious adverse events that could be linked to Sinopharm’s.
Ivermectin is one of several ionophores, others include hydroxychloroquine, quercetin, and resveratrol, the latter two available over-the-counter. These ionophores open a cellular door, allowing zinc to enter the cell, where it then interferes with viral replication, providing potential therapeutic benefit in viral and other infections.
This scientific article reviews and references other studies are demonstrating the antibacterial, antiviral and anticancer properties of ivermectin. This explains the interest in this drug as having potential use in the treatment of Covid-19.
DOES IVERMECTIN WORK AGAINST COVID?
This article is not trying to answer this question but instead looking for readily available information because this drug has been the focus of much media attention recently.
What is newsworthy about ivermectin? A simple Google search of most drugs describes the uses and side effects of the searched medication. However, a similar search for ivermectin provides headlines for why it should not be taken for Covid-19 and how dangerous it is.
The Guardian describes ivermectin as a horse drug and reminds readers, considering taking medicine, and echoing a post by the FDA, “You’re not a horse. You’re not a cow,” saying it is a drug intended for farm animals. The FDA echoed that sentiment in a recent tweet.
You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it. https://t.co/TWb75xYEY4
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) August 21, 2021
The FDA says ivermectin “can be dangerous and even lethal,” but they approved it in 1998 and did not remove it from the market despite being “dangerous and lethal.” Any drug can be “dangerous and lethal” if misused. People have even overdosed on water.
Indeed, ivermectin is also used in animals, as are many drugs approved for human use. This list of veterinary drugs with many familiar names of antibiotics, antihypertensive, and anesthetics commonly used by humans.
Since these drugs are used in farm animals, should humans stop taking them? That seems like a pretty unscientific argument against ivermectin, especially coming from the FDA. And health professionals do not recommend or prescribe animal versions of ivermectin, as there is an FDA-approved human formulation.
Does ivermectin work against Covid? That is the more important question worthy of investigation, rather than reminding people that they are not cows.
A study published several months ago in the American Journal of Therapeutics concluded:
-Meta-analyses based on 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin against COVID-19 have found large and statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and viral clearance. In addition, results from numerous controlled prophylaxis trials report a significant reduction of the risks of contracting Covid-19 with regular use of ivermectin. Finally, the multiple examples of ivermectin distribution campaigns leading to a rapid decrease in population-wide morbidity and mortality indicate that an effective oral agent has been identified in all phases of Covid-19-. (American Journal of Therapeutics)
For now, these 18 studies have not been retracted, unlike previous studies critical of hydroxychloroquine that were ignominiously retracted by prestigious medical journals such as The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine. [Dr. Stella Immanuel sues CNN after hydroxychloroquine was vindicated against COVID-19].
However, the medical establishment refuses even to consider the possibility of any benefit from ivermectin, punishing doctors who want to try it on their patients. 18 studies found benefit. Are they all wrong?
Highly unvaccinated Indian state Uttar Pradesh, with 210 million inhabitants, roughly the same population as the whole of Brazil, had a surge in Covid cases earlier this year that ended abruptly after widespread use of ivermectin, despite objections and criticism from WHO. In another state, however, Tamil Nadu, that did not use ivermectin, cases tripled instead of declining dramatically as in the rest of the country. This is why Indian lawyers took legal action against WHO chief scientist for suppressing data on ivermectin to treat Covid.
This is anecdotal and could have other explanations, but the discovery of penicillin was also anecdotal and observational. Good science should investigate rather than ignore such observations.
The Tokyo Medical Association recently approved the use of ivermectin as a treatment for Covid-19. The US CDC, at about the same time, warned against it. However, the Japanese association only can make suggestions but cannot enact government policies.
There was a legal backlash when an Ohio judge ordered a hospital to treat a Covid patient with ivermectin. After a month intubated, this patient is likely to be Covid-free, and ivermectin will now have no benefit, which could allow the medical establishment to say, “I told you so,” which would not help.
At this point, active Covid infection is not the issue; instead, it is weaning and recovery of long-term life support. Early studies of hydroxychloroquine had the same flaw, treating patients too late in the disease to provide or demonstrate benefit.
These drugs have been proposed for early outpatient treatment, not when patients are critically ill and close to death. Seeking treatment benefits in the wrong patient population will produce the expected negative results.
Despite high vaccination levels in countries such as the US, UK, and Israel, we see an increase in cases and hospitalizations among the vaccinated.
Medical treatment involves balancing risks and benefits. When FDA-approved drugs are used in appropriate doses for appropriate patients, prescribed by competent physicians, the risks tend to be low and any benefits should be celebrated.
In contrast, the medical establishment, the media, and regulatory authorities are taking the opposite approach.
Why is this now controversial?