DOH reiterates warning vs ivermectin use for COVID-19

By JULIA MARI ORNEDO, GMA News

The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday reiterated its warning against the use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin for COVID-19 after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Americans that it is mainly intended for animals.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire urged the public to only take drugs that are registered with the Philippine FDA. Ivermectin has only been approved for compassionate use on COVID-19 patients in certain hospitals.

“Ito pong gamot na ito ay hindi maaaring gamitin sa COVID-19 (This drug cannot be used for COVID-19),” she said in a briefing.

“Ito pong gamot na ito, naipakita na po ng ebidensya (This drug, as evidence has shown), doesn’t give you any benefit at all in preventing, in shortening the duration of your hospitalization or preventing the progression of your disease when you have COVID-19,” she added.

Vergeire also warned that ivermectin may have harmful side effects but noted that no adverse events have been reported to the FDA by people who took the drug.

Two lawmakers stirred controversy in April after distributing ivermectin among Quezon City residents despite the strong opposition of medical experts.

Over the weekend, the US FDA reposted its earlier advisories on the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 in which they said, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

The World Health Organization had also advised against the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 except in the context of a clinical trial. — DVM, GMA News

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