Ivermectin — as soon as touted by conservatives as a Covid remedy — doesn’t considerably enhance restoration, scientific trial outcomes have discovered

Ivermectin tablets were arranged in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday September 2nd, 2021.

Dimas Ardian | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ivermectin, a drug once touted by conservatives as a treatment for Covid, does not significantly improve recovery time for people with mild to moderate cases, according to a large clinical study published in a peer-reviewed journal.

According to the study published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people taking ivermectin recovered from Covid in 12 days, while people not taking the drug recovered in 13 days. Ivermectin has been approved for the treatment of parasitic worms in humans but is primarily used as a dewormer for horses.

“In outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19, treatment with ivermectin did not significantly improve time to recovery compared to placebo,” wrote the team of scientists, led by Duke University School of Medicine. “These results do not support the use of ivermectin in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19,” they concluded.

At the beginning of the pandemic, when treatment options were few, ivermectin gained national prominence when some groups of conservative physicians, including Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance and America’s Frontline Doctors, began promoting the drug on social media and elsewhere as a treatment tout for Covid. But there was little data to back up these claims, and a study by Dr. Pierre Kory, a Wisconsin critical care physician and president of the Critical Care Alliance, who claimed it was an effective treatment, was later retracted because of flawed data.

The most recent study looked at 817 people who took ivermectin tablets for three days and compared them to 774 people who received a placebo. The participants taking ivermectin were given a daily dose based on their weight. Recovery from Covid was defined as three consecutive days without symptoms.

One person in the ivermectin group died, while no person receiving the placebo died. The number of people hospitalized was the same in each group of nine participants.

The study was conducted at 93 US sites from June 2021 to May 2022, when the Delta variant and then the Omicron strain were dominant.

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid and has repeatedly warned people not to take the drug for anything other than its approved purpose.

Public interest in ivermectin soared early in the pandemic, when a lab study suggested the drug slowed the replication of the virus that causes Covid in a petri dish. But several studies have now found that ivermectin does not provide any significant benefit for patients against Covid.

A study published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine found that ivermectin did not reduce the risk of being hospitalized for Covid.

Ivermectin is approved in the US in liquid or paste form for the treatment of parasites in animals. There is also a tablet version that is FDA approved to treat parasitic worms, head lice, and some skin conditions in humans.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and you may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin. It’s not okay,” the FDA says on its website, warning people about overdosing.

The drug agency also warned people strictly against taking ivermectin formulations designed for animals like horses and cows.

“For one thing, veterinary medicines are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals like horses and cows, which weigh a lot more than we do – up to a ton or more. Such high doses can be highly toxic to humans,” says the FDA.

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