The health department’s provincial division announced that it does not recommend Ivermectin‘s use for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
This advisory was issued by the Department of Health-Center for Health Development Northern Mindanao on September 15 amid the rising interest in the anti-parasitic drug.
“The DOH-CHDNM believes in evidence-based medicine (EBM). EBM uses high-quality research to guide clinical decision-making and come up with a conscientious and reasonable treatment recommendation,” it said.
The agency also recalled the previous collective statement of DOH and other medical groups in the Philippines about Ivermectin.
It cited the findings from a systematic review of six randomized controlled trials of the use of Ivermectin, wherein:
Ivermectin did not significantly reduce the risk of death among patients with mild to severe COVID-19. Ivermectin was not associated with a definite benefit in terms of clinical improvement at day 6-10, clinical deterioration, and need for mechanical ventilation. Ivermectin did not significantly reduce the duration of hospitalization, and the time to resolution of symptoms. The rate of hospital discharge at Day 10-14 did not differ significantly between the Ivermectin group and the standard of care or placebo group.
Moreover, it also cited similar findings from a Cochrane research group that was released last July 28. One of the findings specifically stated that:
“Ivermectin did not prevent confirmed COVID-19.”
With these science-backed proofs, the DOH-CHDNM advised the public from using the drug for treating infected patients with COVID-19 or using it for prevention.
“Ivermectin may only be used for its indication as an anti-parasitic or off-label only in strict clinical trial settings such as the one being conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development,” it said.
“We urge all stakeholders to continue strengthening our COVID-19 response through the evidence-based prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and reintegration (PDITR) strategies including the COVID-19 vaccination program,” it added.
This announcement came after a health advisory that urged doctors to add Ivermectin to their hospital treatment protocols circulated on social media recently.
The snapshot of the health advisory has the name and logo of the Misamis Oriental Provincial Health Office.
The document, however, could not be found on the province’s official social media accounts.
Rep. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan) and Rodante Marcoleta (SAGIP), vocal supporters of Ivermectin for COVID-19, also filed a petition for mandamus before the Supreme Court on September 16.
This writ was filed to compel regulators to allow the use of Ivermectin against the deadly disease despite opposition from medical organizations here and abroad.
This stance was reiterated by Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a briefing on September 17.
“We do not recommend the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19. It has not proven to significantly reduce mortality nor to improve other clinical outcomes,” she said.
Last September 11, Yale School of Public Health also released an infographic advising humans against use of ivermectin.
“Studies have failed to thusfar show a positive impact of ivermectin on preventing or treating COVID-19. It can also lead to serious health consequences and death if doses are too high,” the infographic reads.
“But, we do have other ways to prevent COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, including an FDA-approved vaccine,” it added.