Ivermectin Drops From Pharmacies Amid Health Warnings, But It’s Due To Demand-Based Shortage | Local News
BOISE – Since the United States Centers for Disease Control issued an official health advisory on August 26 against the use of ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, to prevent or treat COVID-19, Idaho has seen warnings from authorities, but no new rules on prescribing or using the controversial drug.
However, a nationwide shortage of the drug over the past two weeks has prevented many pharmacies in Treasure Valley from filling prescriptions for invermectin. “We haven’t been able to buy ivermectin for a few weeks,” Travis Walthall, pharmacist and director of Custom RX Pharmacy in Kuna, said on Friday. “So we haven’t filled one for weeks or more.”
Walthall said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, he may have filled one prescription for ivermectin per year. By mid-August, his pharmacy was filling four or five a week.
“You will find some who believe in ivermectin and fill these prescriptions, and you will find some who do not believe it,” said Nicki Chopski, executive director of the State Pharmacy Board. She said the board did not take any position on the use of the drug, which is not among the drugs she follows because it is not a controlled substance. Instead, it’s a “legendary drug,” meaning it’s available by prescription.
The CDC notice of August 26 said: “Adverse effects associated with ivermectin abuse and overdoses are on the rise, as evidenced by an increase in calls to poison control centers reporting overdoses and more people experiencing adverse effects.”
Ivermectin is a medicine used to treat parasites in animals in formulations such as pour-on, paste and “sheep dip” and to treat parasitic infections in humans caused by roundworms, including including some serious tropical diseases.
The two doctors who developed ivermectin received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015, by sharing it with the developer of an antimalarial drug. The Nobel Committee wrote: “The importance of ivermectin in improving the health and well-being of millions of people with river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, mainly in the poorest parts of the world, is immeasurable.
It was not developed to treat viruses.
“There’s a lot of misinformation around,” the FDA article says, “and you may have heard that it’s okay to take high doses of ivermectin. It’s not good.
The drug is widely used around the world, and many studies are underway to examine its antiviral properties and potential to fight COVID-19. However, none have found evidence that it works, according to the FDA.
The “Test Set, A major international trial involving more than 1,400 patients led by McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, tested eight different drugs for use against COVID-19, including ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. He concluded in August that only one of the eight, fluvoxamine, “had a positive effect on COVID-19.”
Last week, Chopski said, she received an angry email from someone accusing the state pharmacy board of “of preventing these prescriptions from being filled when this disease is preventable. and that people die “. The board did no such thing, she said.
Chopski, who served on the board for 12 years before becoming its director, said: “I think pharmacists, the expectation is that they will look at the literature, they will look at all the valid studies available, all of the available studies. information available. , and use their best clinical judgment to make a decision.
When the Associated Press visited the intensive care unit at St. Luke Regional Medical Center in Boise two weeks ago, patients included a man in his 50s who tried ivermectin and refused standard medical treatment. for severe COVID-19 until he fell so ill he needed hospitalization.
“What we have left is organ support therapy,” Dr. Jim Souza, chief medical officer at St. Luke’s, told the AP. “Misinformation hurts people and kills people. “
The CDC advisory urges patients to “be aware that at this time, ivermectin has not been proven to prevent or treat COVID-19; »Avoid swallowing ivermectin products intended for use on the skin, such as lotions or creams to treat head lice. avoid taking veterinary forms of the drug, which may have doses high enough to be toxic to humans; and get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Vaccination against COVID-19 is FDA approved and is the safest and most effective way to prevent disease and protect against serious illness and death from SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, including the Delta variant, ”the CDC opinion said.
The CDC’s health advisory said prescriptions for ivermectin in the United States rose from 3,600 per week before the COVID-19 pandemic to 39,000 in January, then started to rise again in July, peaking over 88,000 during the week ending August 13.
The Idaho Regional Poison Control Center, which covers Nebraska, Idaho, Wyoming, Federated States of Micronesia and American Samoa, has received 32 calls of ivermectin exposure due to “intentional use. linked to COVID-19 ”since January 2020. Angie Pasho, education coordinator for the Nebraska Regional Poison Center, said 13 of them were from Idaho, most of them only since April 1 of this year.
In 2019, the region only had four cases of ivermectin poisoning, none of them from Idaho. Typically, the calls involved accidental exposure on farms or ranches where the product is used to treat livestock pests, Pasho said; some accidental exposure victims were children who occurred through the products.
“Ivermectin is not authorized or approved by the FDA for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19,” the CDC notice said, noting that studies to date have found “insufficient data” for recommend its use.
Dr Ryan Cole, a pathologist from Boise and the most recent member of the Central District Health Board, is a major champion of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, and told a forum “Capitol Clarity ”sponsored by Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin and the Idaho Freedom Foundation in March which he believed to have saved 42 lives in two months by prescribing it.
“I know a handful of brave doctors who are prescribing it,” Cole said at the March forum. “It’s a phenomenal drug.”
Cole also spoke out against COVID19 vaccines at the forum; a long article published by FactCheck.org found his claims “baseless”, including his claim that the government was trying to suppress the use of ivermectin so that it could “sell their vaccine.”
Cole said, “If there is a cure for a disease, the federal government cannot approve a vaccine, by law, by rule.” There is no such law or rule, according to FactCheck.org. Influenza and chickenpox are common examples of illnesses for which there are both approved treatments and vaccines.
Cole, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story, continued to pitch ivermectin as a COVID treatment in an interview released online by the “Idaho Dispatch” website on September 1, claiming it was is “a very safe drug” is “to be demonized like hydroxychloroquine was last year, because there are people who don’t want COVID to be treated successfully.”
Cole also said he himself had had COVID-19 three weeks earlier and took the drug.
On September 1, the American Medical Association and two national groups of pharmacists said in a press release“We are alarmed by reports that outpatient prescribing and dispensing of ivermectin has increased 24-fold since before the pandemic and has increased exponentially in recent months. As such, we call for an immediate end to the prescribing, dispensing and use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial. “
“In addition, we urge physicians, pharmacists and other prescribers – trusted healthcare professionals in their communities – to caution patients against using ivermectin outside of the approved indications and guidelines. FDA, whether intended for humans or animals, as well as purchasing ivermectin from online stores, ”the groups said. “The veterinary forms of this drug are very concentrated for large animals and pose a significant risk of toxicity to humans. The three groups, the statement said, “strongly oppose ordering, prescribing or dispensing ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.”
The Idaho Board of Pharmacy has posted on its website, under “Hot Topics”, an opinion about an August 30 letter from the FDA to veterinarians and retailers asking for help educating consumers that they should not use veterinary formulations of ivermectin for human use.
“Taking these drugs has made some people very sick,” says the advisory. “Treating human medical conditions with veterinary drugs can be very dangerous.”
Cole, in his lectures and interviews, has said that he too strongly advises against human use of veterinary medicine. “Of course, no one should be taking this,” he said in the Sept. 1 interview, but said, “It is an extremely safe drug when administered properly.”
Dr. David Pate, former CEO of St. Luke’s and a member of the State Coronavirus Task Force, responded to a question last week about the Boise State Public Radio’s “Idaho Matters” program. by a caller asking if the government was cutting studies on ivermectin because it would be cheaper than other treatments for COVID-19.
“In fact, there have been many investigations into ivermectin and some studies have been done even by the manufacturer of ivermectin, and they said that it is not effective in preventing COVID, that it is not effective in treating COVID, “Pate replied. “The FDA looked at the studies and said the same thing. And so, no, it’s not a question that for some reason we wouldn’t want to study because it would be cheaper.
Pate added, “When you hear these things, just ask yourself: does this make sense? Does it make sense that the government does not want a cheaper way to prevent this pandemic when the government is paying for a large chunk of care? Wouldn’t you like something cheaper? So we have to be very suspicious of these things that we hear. “