© 2021 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Health & Science

De-worming Drug's Off-Label Use for COVID is Criticized for Safety and Effectiveness

 Ivermectin tablets
Carl DMaster
Ivermectin tablets are authorized to treat worms. Now some COVID-19 patients and others are taking it to combat or prevent COVID-19, which has prompted warnings from medical officials and the government.

Some Ohio doctors are prescribing Ivermectin, a medicine used to get rid of worms, as a treatment and preventative for COVID. People are also going into farmer supply stores and buying the non-prescription version of the drug. That’s prompted calls to poison control lines nationwide. In fact, so much off-label usage has been happening that the FDA issued a warning about its safety.

The false claim that parasite-fighting drug ivermectin is known to be a cure for COVID-19 has been circulating on social media for weeks, and some online doctors have been prescribing it. A Butler County judge even ordered a Cincinnati hospital to treat a patient with ivermectin, after a doctor in Centerville prescribed it. But Jerica Stewart with the Ohio State Medical Board says that the organization has issued information containing the CDC guidance about the drug.

“And it noted in the advisory that Ivermectin was not currently authorized for treatment of COVID-19," Stewart said.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy’s Cameron McNamee says that the organization is taking action.

“We’ve been getting complaints from the pharmacists regarding prescribers who have been prescribing this for COVID-19 and other off label uses. And what we are doing is we have established a process whereby those complaints are being forwarded to the appropriate licensing body where it be the nursing board for advanced practice license nurses or the medical board for physicians and physician assistants," McNamee said.

Attorney General Dave Yost, who stepped in last year when another drug was being used for off-label treatment of COVID, is not taking any action now. Neither is Gov. Mike DeWine.

“I’ll leave that to the medical community. I think we should listen to the medical community—all of us, all of us should listen to the medical community—particularly when there is a strong, overwhelming consensus about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate," DeWine said.

Medical experts say the best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and wear a mask.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.