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History


Ivermectin was discovered in 1970 through a soil sample in Japan. The credit goes to two scientists are known as Satoshi Omura and William Campbell, to isolate the soil’s bacterial culture. Later in 2015, they shared the prestigious Nobel Prize for their exceptional contribution to the field of medicine. Over time, the culture was researched and synthesized to form the Ivermectin medication. Initially marketed for veterinary use, Ivermectin was approved for a human trial in 1985. In 2018, the WHO recognized it as an essential medication and tagged it at 420th position under most prescribed medication in the United States.

How Does It Look?

Ivermectin is available in the market in a tablet, cream and liquid form. The tablet form of Ivermectin is available in round white tablets imprinted with ‘806’ on one side for 3mg strength tablets. The generic versions of the medication come in pink forms of oblong and circular shapes. Some 6mg strengths of Ivermectin are available as yellow tablets in various shapes. The cream form of Ivermectin comes in white tubes of opaque consistency, while the liquid version of the medication is available in translucent or opaque bottles in varying sizes of 50-250ml.

Uses

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic medication that helps in the treatment of scabies and lice-induced rosacea and blepharitis infection. It is particularly effective in cases of river blindness (Onchocerciasis) and Strongyloidiasis. The WHO recognizes Ivermectin as an effective treatment for Lymphatic filariasis- a parasitic condition is resulting in severe inflammation of legs, arms, breasts and genitals. Various studies have postulated that it can be used in Covid positive patients by reducing the symptoms caused by the Covid virus while preventing the virus from replicating further. However, the WHO and FDA has not approved its usage for Covid-19 treatment yet. Research is still ongoing regarding the Covid aspect.

Ivermectin was originally developed as an anthelmintic for veterinary use and remains to this day as an effective anti-parasitic medication for domestic animals especially dogs. Both external and internal parasites respond to treatment with Ivermectin. It is especially useful in heartworm cases in dogs that don't respond to other medications satisfactorily. Other conditions like mange (both demodectic and sarcoptic) and ear mites with scabies are effectively resolved using the drug.

Mechanism of Action Against Parasitic Infections

 intracellular chloride channels. TFor parasitic infections, Ivermectin works by attaching itself to the parasites/worms’ muscles and nerve endings of the parasites/worms, thereby pushing open thehis results in hyperpolarization of their cell membrane, which paralyzes or kills them, after which they are removed from the body through the feces. Ivermectin also works against the intrauterine development of the parasites and destroys their replication mechanism. This helps in preventing the spreading of the infection.

Contraindications

  • Ivermectin can cross the blood-brain barrier in pregnant and breastfeeding women and affect the baby’s mental development. Because of this, it is contraindicated in pregnant women and children
  • It is metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. Ivermectin for humans should not be used in people with delayed metabolism or with hepatic (liver) or renal (kidney) disorders.
  • People with a history of seizures or faulty immune systems should not use the medication.
  • Usage of Ivermectin for humans is also contraindicated in people with asthmatic conditions or those with severe allergies or hypersensitivity to the medication.

Strength and Dosage

Strength & Dosage of Ivermectin

Ivermectin is available in strengths of 3 mg and 6 mg, with the former one more readily available and in use. The prescribed dose may vary depending on the disease condition and age and weight of the patient.

For instance, for cases like strongyloidiasis of the intestinal tract and onchocerciasis, a 3mg oral Ivermectin is prescribed for children weighing between 15-24 kg. For adults weighing between 25-35 kg, a 6mg tablet (every day) is prescribed, whereas, for 36-50 kg weight, the 9 mg does the job. If the weight lies between 51-65 kg, a 12mg tablet is required and a 15mg tablet when the window lies between 66-79 kg. In adults greater than 80kgs, the daily prescribed dose is 200mcg/kg. For cases of lymphatic filariasis, patients are advised for a 6mg Ivermectin, to be taken as per the condition requirement. However, the actual dose may vary. It is strongly advisable to consult your doctor to confirm the ideal dose strength for your condition.

Ivermectin is available in strengths of 3 mg and 6 mg, with the former one more readily available and in use. The prescribed dose may vary depending on the disease condition and age and weight of the patient.

For instance, for cases like strongyloidiasis of the intestinal tract and onchocerciasis, a 3mg oral Ivermectin is prescribed for children weighing between 15-24 kg. For adults weighing between 25-35 kg, a 6mg tablet (every day) is prescribed, whereas, for 36-50 kg weight, the 9 mg does the job. If the weight lies between 51-65 kg, a 12mg tablet is required and a 15mg tablet when the window lies between 66-79 kg. In adults greater than 80kgs, the daily prescribed dose is 200mcg/kg. For cases of lymphatic filariasis, patients are advised for a 6mg Ivermectin, to be taken as per the condition requirement. However, the actual dose may vary. It is strongly advisable to consult your doctor to confirm the ideal dose strength for your condition.

Side Effects

Minor Side Effects Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, feeling of tiredness, dizziness, itchiness, sleepiness, etc.

Moderate Side Effects – Joint pains, swollen lymph nodes, vision disturbances, rashes, fever

Serious Side Effects – Inability to control urination or bowel movements, trouble standing or walking, confusion, extreme tiredness or drowsiness, serious eye problems, skin reactions, and liver damage.

In such cases, it is important to discontinue the medication and get emergency medical help right away.

Drug Interactions

Ivermectin with Warfarin

The risk of excessive bleeding is increased by combining Ivermectin with an anticoagulant like Warfarin.

Ivermectin with Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, like Clonazepam and Lorazepam, experience reduced efficacy when combined with Ivermectin. The combined effect also produces side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, confusion and difficulty in concentration.

Ivermectin with Chloroquine

When combined with an anti-malarial drug Chloroquine, Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medication may increase the risk of myopathy, rhabdomyolysis, and myoglobinuria.

Precautions

Ivermectin should be:

  • Taken as a single dose on an empty stomach before breakfast
  • Consumed with lots of water
  • Carefully monitored while consuming with other medicines
  • Avoided to make up for a mixed dose
  • Avoided if you see any abnormality in your stool and vision
  • Avoided if you are about to drive, consume alcohol or operate heavy machinery just after taking the medicine

What’s the legal status of Ivermectin in the UK?

The FDA has specially approved Ivermectin for the treatment of Strongyloidiasis and Onchocerciasis with the WHO including it under the list of essential medicines. Apart from human use, IVM brand of Ivermectin are the most commonly used anthelmintics for equine round words and in the UK sheep industry. Since 1987, the Mectizan Donation Program that has branches in the UK and other parts of the world has approved 1.4 billion treatments for control and elimination of Onchocerciasis and 1.2 billion treatments for control and elimination of Lymphatic filariasis.

Does it work for Covid Positive Cases?

For Covid virus treatment, Ivermectin has been observed through clinical trials in preventing the spike protein of the virus from binding itself to the cell receptors of the human body which prevents the virus from entering the body. Researchers have also postulated that Ivermectin has the potential to prevent the SARS-Covid virus from suppressing the antiviral response of the human cell that fights against the virus thus enabling the immune system to fight the virus effectively. But all of these postulations are still under clinical trials and FDA approval has not been provided as yet for Ivermectin as a potential Covid treatment medication. It is dangerous to use Ivermectin medication for anything other than its FDA approved measures. Human consumption of the veterinary component of Ivermectin for Covid treatment can be potentially life-threatening for the user.