Physicians issue fresh warning on Ivermectin

The Zimbabwe College of Public Health Physicians (ZCPHP) has warned against the inappropriate use of Ivermectin for Covid-19 treatment, saying the drug should only be used in clinical trials.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that some doctors are now administering to Covid-19 patients following a surge in infections at the beginning of the year.

Last month, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) said the drug was only to be used under strict experimental conditions, emphasising that there was no blanket approval for its widespread use.

“Whilst there are some treatments that are approved for use in severe cases of Covid-19 disease, there is no current evidence that ivermectin is effective in the treatment of this disease. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that ivermectin should only be used in clinical trials,” said the physicians in a statement after noting the reported widespread inappropriate use of the drug in the management of Covid-19 cases.

According to the physicians, WHO experts reviewed all available studies, about 16 randomised controlled trials, from all over the world but found no conclusive evidence that ivermectin is effective in treating Covid-19.

“After reviewing all available evidence of use of ivermectin for covid-19 the ZCPHP recommends that ivermectin should only be used in clinical trials as approved by MCAZ,” said the physicians.

“Medical practitioners participating in the trials should follow the approved protocols to enable robust research and results to fully explain to clients and to always encourage clients to continue adhering to proven Covid-19 prevention measures – hand hygiene, masking up, physical distancing  and vaccination regardless of their participation in trials.”

ZCPHP advised pharmacists to follow the regulations and avoid dispensing ivermectin outside of the clinical trials to avoid study contamination and harm to members of the community.

“Citizens should consent to take ivermectin after a medical practitioner has explained to them what it means to participate in the study,” said the physicians.

ZCPHP is an association of specialist public health doctors registered in Zimbabwe.

Their membership is drawn from specialist public health physicians working in the public, private and NGO sectors supporting the government in the design, implementation, and evaluation of health programmes to enable all Zimbabwean citizens to attain the highest possible standard of health.

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