MANILA —The Department of Health on Wednesday said the deworming drug Ivermectin should not be given to COVID-19 patients, especially since it has not yet been approved for such use.
“I am just warning those doctors who are doing this without undergoing through the regulatory process, dahil ito ay maaaring makasama sa kababayan natin dahil wala pa naman tayong sapat na ebidensya na itong Ivermectin ay maaaring gamitin para sa COVID-19 o para mag-prevent ng COVID-19,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a briefing.
(I am just warning those doctors who are doing this without undergoing through the regulatory process because this might be harmful to our citizens because there is no evidence yet that Ivermectin can be used for COVID-19 or to prevent COVID-19.)
Vergeire said people should not use off-label drugs, or those made for other illnesses, without the approval of the Food and Drug Administration and the ethics review board.
There have been reports abroad about Ivermectin being used for COVID-19.
An article posted by the Guardian quoted Barcelona Institute of Global Health’s Dr. Carlos Chaccour, who has studied Ivermectin for a decade, as saying that it is dangerous to use the drug. He said some have been using veterinary ivermectin, such as those used for sheep, on people.
Vergeire said that besides parasitic infections, Ivermectin has also been used for external parasites like lice and other skin conditions.
She also pointed out that the studies on Ivermectin and COVID-19 have only been done inside laboratories and not on people.
“Kailangan pag-aralan nang mabuti dahil baka mag-cause ng more harm than doing good,” she said.
(It has to be studied carefully because it might cause more harm than good.)
Drugs like remdesivir and interferon are off-label as well, but have gotten approval for investigational use. These drugs are still undergoing clinical trials and have not been approved for public use against COVID-19.